France started enforcing a new law from midnight that bans the wearing of full Islamic veils in public.
It has taken more than a year of controversial debate and a stormy passage through the French parliament.
The law is accompanied by an internet campaign to explain the new rule. Women who cover their faces in public, be it shops, schools, buses or hospitals, face a fine of up to 150 euros.
Opponents say it violates European laws on religious freedom.
Kenza Dryder said: “On 11th of April I will continue my life as a Frenchwoman who wears a full veil. I will continue to go out in public places, and in private, wherever I want. I won’t take off my niqab whatever the circumstances.”
Police say they will uphold the law, but many are not convinced by some arguments that it is essential to maintain security.
“A law that forbids the hiding of faces is probably not without its uses. But that said, I don’t think it’s going to be a mainstay of the fight against terrorism in France,” said Denis Jacob, the head of the Alliance Police Union.
Officials say police – many of whom also cover their faces occasionally – will not arrest every veiled woman they see.