Spanish city bans Islamic veils at the town hall

MADRID—The Spanish city of Lleida has barred women from wearing face-covering Islamic veils inside its municipal buildings.

The move makes the northern city of Lleida—population of 135,000—the first in Spain to regulate the garments that have triggered debate across Europe.

Lleida’s town hall passed the ban Friday with 23 votes in favor, one against and two abstentions.

The gesture is largely symbolic, because town hall spokeswoman Inma Martos said only about 3 percent of the population is Muslim and only a handful of Muslim women in Lleida actually wear body-covering burqas or face-covering niqab garments.

Martos told The Associated Press the idea behind the ban is that such veils are degrading to women.

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