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61 held over French veil-ban demo

Police have arrested 61 people - including 19 women - over a bid to hold an illegal Paris demonstration against a new ban on face-covering Islamic veils.

A top Paris police official said 59 people were detained while trying to protest at Place de la Nation, and two others were detained while travelling there from Britain and Belgium.

Nicolas Lerner said the arrests came after demonstrators refused to comply with the ban.

He said it was ordered because organisers' call for the protest was "clearly an incitation to violence and racial hatred" and that counter-demonstrations had been planned - raising the prospect of public disorder.

France is set to enact a ban on face-covering Muslim veils on Monday.

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