The northern region of Liguria on Tuesday announced plans to ban the Islamic face veil from hospitals and other public institutions, in a bid to "defend women's freedom".
Regional president Giovanni Toti, of the Forza Italia party, described the burqa as "the worst symbol of the oppression of women". He defended the ban against accusations that it is discriminatory and possibly anti-constitutional.
"Those who live in Italy need to grasp and respect at least the minimum rules of equality between men and women," said Toti, who proposed the measure together with Liguria's health councillor, Sonia Viale of the far-right Northern League party.
The party's national leader, Matteo Salvini, was quick to praise the region for a "concrete initiative" to protect women's freedom in the midst of what he called a "flood of useless chatter that accompanies Women's Day".
Face coverings have been banned in public institutions in the neighbouring region of Lombardy since January 2016. [The Local] Read more