A veiled woman's recent ejection from a Paris opera for being covered up is forcing government officials in France to analyze and create a new set of rules for theaters, the institution's deputy said on Sunday. A law in 2011 banned females from wearing face and head coverings, including burqas, in a public space in France, or face a $190 fine.
The incident took place when the woman was spotted in the front row of a performance of La Traviata at the Opera Bastille on Oct. 3, the opera house's deputy director Jean-Philippe Thiellay told Agence France-Presse, confirming a media report.
Dressed in a scarf, which covers the hair, and a niqab, which covers the nose and mouth, the unidentified woman's eyes were the only visible feature as she sat behind the conductor during the performance. Specifically, the woman's seating was clearly visible on the monitors.
"I was alerted in the second act," said Thiellay, adding that "some performers said they did not want to sing" if something was not done.
During the interval, the spectator and her companion, tourists from the Gulf, were then asked to leave the premises by an inspector, according to MetroNews.
Following the incident, a new bill is being used to remind theatres, museums and other public institutions of the rules in regard to veils under the supervision of France's ministry of culture.
"He told her that in France there is a ban of this nature, asked her to either uncover her face or leave the room. The man asked the woman to get up, they left," Thiellay said.
"It's never nice to ask someone to leave... But there was a misunderstanding of the law and the lady either had to respect it or leave," he said.
Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott recently said he proposed that officials "re-think the decision" that would require women wearing face and head coverings, including burqas, to be seated separately from the public at Parliament House following an immediate public backlash against the measures, Reuters reported.
Parliament's presiding officers - Speaker Bronwyn Bishop of the House of Representatives and president of the Senate, Stephen Parry - announced the security measures three weeks ago, under which women who chose to cover themselves or their faces, such as with the niqab, would be forced to view chambers of parliament from a glass-enclosed public gallery.