Anti-mask laws

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Anti-mask or anti-masking laws refer to legislative or penal initiatives that seek to stop individuals, who do so often for political or religious purposes, from concealing their faces.

North America[edit]

United States[edit]

In many US states, there are anti-mask laws.[1]

  • Anti-mask laws date back to the mid 20th Century when states and municipalities passed them as to inhibit the Ku Klux Klan, whose members typically wore hoods of white linen to conceal their identities.[2][better source needed]
  • In some states you may be required to carry a note from your physician stating that you need to wear the mask for health reasons.[1]
  • In current times masked political protestors, such as those in the Occupy Movement, have been targeted with anti-masking laws.[3][4][5][6]


  • After several high profile protests, the Canadian Parliament introduced Bill C-309, which bans the wearing of masks during a riot or other unlawful assembly.[7][8] The bill became law on June 19, 2013.[9] Those convicted of it face up to 10 years in prison.[10]



  • In Austria since 2002 masking ban on demonstrations under § 9 of the Assembly Law (Versammlungsgesetz). Violation of the ban need not be prosecuted if the mask does not threaten public order and security. Violation of the ban entails, according to § 19a of the Law, imprisonment up to six months, repeated offenses one year or a fine.


  • Wearing masks at a protest is illegal in Denmark.[11]


  • French ban on face covering is an act of parliament passed by the Senate of France on 14 September 2010, resulting in the ban on the wearing of face-covering headgear, including masks, helmets, balaclava, niqābs and other veils covering the face in public places, except under specified circumstances.


  • Since 1980s, according to § 17a Abs. 2 Versammlungsgesetz you may not disguise your identity in public meetings such as demonstrations so the police are able to identify you. This violation can be fined with imprisonment up to one year.[12]


  • According to 'Citizens’ Security Law' passed by government, protesters who cover their faces at demonstrations could be fined up to 30,000 euros.[13]


  • According to the Law on the Prohibition of masking in some cases,[14] the prohibition for participants in the demonstration to fully or partially cover the face in a way that complicates identification. This prohibition applies only if there are disturbances of public order at demonstrations, or if there is an immediate danger of such disturbances. The ban does not apply to the covering of the face for religious reasons. It also does not apply to the extent participants (under 2 Ch. 7 a § Order Act ) authorized to fully or partially cover the face.


  • In the cantons of Basel-Stadt (1990), Zurich (1995), Bern (1999), Lucerne (2004), Thurgau (2004), Solothurn (2006) and St. Gallen (2009), there are laws banning use of masks.


  • Several days after Berkut riot police clashed with Euromaidan protesters Verkhovna Rada has enacted law 721-VII banning wearing masks, helmets or camouflage clothing by people taking part in a gathering, assembly, demonstration, protest, rally or other mass event. Fines for violating are monetary up to about $400 or administrative arrest up to 15 days.[15] The law was repealed in January 2014.[16][17][18]

United Kingdom[edit]

  • During the 2011 United Kingdom anti-austerity protests one of the temporary policies discussed in the COBRA meeting was to ban the covering of the face during the riots. Generally only enforced in areas in a riot stage, none were arrested solely for wearing masks, only ordered to take them off. However, many arrested who committed other crimes, such as looting and attacking police officers, were charged with failing to adhere to the mask ban as well as all the other infringements when placed in court.


  1. ^ a b CND: State Codes Related To Wearing Masks
  2. ^ The John Birch Society Same As The KKK
  3. ^ Occupy's Halloween Party Might Break D.C.'s Anti-Mask Law
  4. ^ Old Anti-Mask Law Foils Wall Street Protestors
  5. ^ With a 'Hi-Oh, Silver!' ACLU Challenges Michigan Anti-Mask Law on Behalf of "Lone Ranger" Protesters
  6. ^ Who Goes There?" -- Proposing a Model Anti-Mask Act
  7. ^ Canadian Anti-Masking Bill Imminent
  8. ^ Police chiefs back anti-mask bill
  9. ^ Meagan Fitzpatrick, CBC News Wearing a mask at a riot is now a crime
  10. ^ Mask ban: Canada's veiled protesters face 10 years' jail
  11. ^ Name: * (2010-01-23). "Denmark: Police brutalise climate protesters | Green Left Weekly". Retrieved 2014-02-16. 
  12. ^ "§ 17a VersG". Retrieved 2014-02-16. 
  13. ^ "Spain's anti-protest bill criticized as anti-democratic". Reuters. Retrieved 2014-02-16. 
  14. ^ "Lag (2005:900) om förbud mot maskering i vissa fall". 2006-01-01. Retrieved 2014-02-16. 
  15. ^ "Ukranian News - Parliament Bans Wearing Masks, Helmets, Camouflage Clothing At Mass Rallies". 2014-01-17. Retrieved 2014-02-16. 
  16. ^ "Верховная Рада отменила "скандальные" законы - В Украине". 2014-01-28. Retrieved 2014-02-16. 
  17. ^
  18. ^ Flanagan, Ed (2014-01-28). "Ukraine anti-protest laws repealed; PM resigns - World News". Retrieved 2014-02-16.