Anti-masking or masking laws

 Anti-masking or masking laws

Anti-masking or disguising laws are legislative or penal initiatives that seek to prevent individuals from hiding their faces, who often do so so that their identities are not known or are not outside of religious practices.

United States

There are laws that fight the mask in many States of America. 

The New York State Anti-Mask Act was enacted in 1845 to ensure public safety after disputes between landlords and tenants.

Many of the mask-ban laws date back to the mid-20th century, when they were passed by states and municipalities to stop violent activities by the Ku Klux Klan, whose members usually wore white linen covers to hide their identities.

In the 21st century, these laws became applicable to political protesters such as members of the Occupy movement or the Anonimoms group wearing Jay Fox masks.

In some areas, motorcyclists were arrested under anti-mask laws.

These laws are challenged on the grounds that they violate First Amendment guarantees of freedom of expression and association. Some courts compared freedom of expression with the public safety interest, and upheld these laws. For example, the Supreme Court of Georgia concluded that the law was constitutional on the grounds that wearing the mask was an act of intimidation and threats of violence, and therefore not a protected speech. That law excludes holiday celebrations, theatre performances and occupational safety; it does not clarify whether a person violates the law if he or she wears a mask without having any intention of threatening violence. A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld New York law on the grounds that wearing a Ku Klux Klan mask did not convey a protected message beyond that conveyed when wearing a hoodie and a dress. Other courts have repealed anti-mask laws. For example, the laws of Tennessee and Florida were overturned on the grounds that they were deemed unconstitutional. A decree was repealed in the Indiana city of Goshen, based on the First Amendment principle that protects private anonymous speech and anonymous associations, especially for unpopular groups such as the Ku Klux Klan.


After several high-profile protests, the Canadian Parliament introduced Bill C-309, which prohibits the wearing of masks during riots or other illegal gatherings. He introduced the bill on June 19, 2013 and became law in force. Those convicted face up to 10 years in prison.

The Canadian Criminal Code, Section 351 (2), also covers the ››Disguised disguise›› With a few exceptions, criminal offences in Canada include a fine of more than $5,000 or imprisonment for more than six months.

In 2017, Quebec's ban on face coverings for transportation and government services was generalized.

France's 2010 ban on face covering is widely seen as the most stringent, which prohibits face covering in almost all cases in public places, rather than limited restrictions in countries such as Denmark that prohibit such practices only in the context of public gatherings such as demonstrations.



In Austria since 2002, a ban on the wearing of masks at demonstrations was imposed under article 9 of the Assembly Act. It is not necessary to prosecute violators of the ban if the mask does not threaten security and public order. Violation of the prohibition, in accordance with article 19 A.B. of the Act, carries a prison sentence of up to six months or in the case of repeated offences for one year or a fine.

Parliament passed new legislation on May 16, 2017, which stipulates that people wearing clothes covering their faces, such as burqas, niqab, helmets covering the entire face, scarves (worn by motorcyclists), etc. in places such as universities, public transport or courts face fines of up to 150 euros (about $167). The procedure came into effect in October 2017. Shortly after the legislation on October 1, 2017, there were some incidents in which the police arbitrarily fined people, prompting some of the swastikas to point out that there were gaps in the law, or an incorrect understanding of them among the police.


Belgian law, adopted in June 2011, prohibits public appearances ››:Face disguised or concealed, in whole or in part, in an unrecognizable manner›› Violations can result in fines and up to seven days in prison. On 11 July 2017, the European Court of Human Rights upheld the ban in Belgium after it was challenged by two Muslim women who claimed that their rights had been violated.


Wearing masks during gatherings in a public place is illegal in Denmark. Danish Penal Code No. 134b, which came into force on June 3, 2000, punishes the violation with a fine or imprisonment of up to six months. Part 2 of paragraph 134 B criminalizes the possession of influences that are perceived as intended for use in persuasion during the assembly. Paragraph 134 of Part 3 of the Penalty excludes persuasion, which is intended to protect the face from the weather. The ban does not apply to Greenland or the Faroe Islands.


The French ban on covering the face is a parliamentary law passed by the French Senate on September 14, 2010, which has led to a ban on the wearing of headgear, including masks, helmets, balaclava, niqab and other coverings covering the face in public, except under specific circumstances.


Since 1985, in accordance with paragraph 17, Section 2 of the General Assembly, your identity may not be concealed in public meetings such as demonstrations so that the police can identify you. This violation can be fined up to one year in prison.


In Italy, the 1975 law strictly prohibits the wearing of any clothing that can hide a person's face. Penalties (such as fines and imprisonment) are imposed for such conduct. The original purpose of the Anti-Mask Act was to prevent crime or terrorism. The law allows exemptions ›››justified reasons, which are sometimes interpreted by the courts as including religious reasons for wearing the niqab, but others, including local governments, disagree and argue that religion is not a justified reason›› in this context.


In Latvia, the Latvian parliament passed a law passed in 2016 banning niqab and burqas across the country