Denmark's Parliament bans wearing of face veils in public

Women wearing niqab sit in the audience at the Danish Parliament in Copenhagen on Thursday.

(CNN)Denmark's parliament banned the wearing of face coverings in public spaces Thursday in a move that critics say will criminalize Muslim women who choose to wear the niqab or burqa.

The measure will come into force on August 1, Reuters news agency reported. Fines will range from 1,000 Danish crowns ($160) for a first offense to 10,000 crowns for a fourth violation, the news agency said.
The ban is the latest in a series to be approved by European lawmakers. A ban on wearing the full-face veil in public went into force in France in 2011. Restrictions on full-face veils are also in place in Belgium, Austria and parts of Switzerland, while other European countries have debated the issue.
Lawmakers in Quebec, Canada, passed a bill last October that would require public workers and citizens seeking government services to have their faces uncovered.
    Women wearing niqab are pictured in front of the Danish Parliament in Copenhagen on Thursday.