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Saudi Arabia: Man stabs three performers on stage during live show

Yemeni man arrested after he stabbed three performers on stage in Riyadh. Performance was taking place to promote entertainment in the conservative country.  

Saudi Arabia: Man stabs three performers on stage during live show
Bengaluru, First Published Nov 12, 2019, 6:55 PM IST
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Riyadh [Saudi Arabia]: A Yemeni man was arrested after he stabbed three performers during a live show in Riyadh on Monday.

The victims were in stable condition, local media reported. As per footage broadcast by state television on Monday, a 33-year-old man, identified as Yemeni, was seen running onto the stage in Riyadh's King Abdullah Park during a musical performance to attack the victims, reported Al Jazeera.

State news agency SPA said the victims, two men, and a woman, sustained "superficial wounds" and were stabilised after receiving medical care.

Another online video showed the scene from another angle, as the assailant tumbled off the stage and the performers fled. The motive behind the attack was not clear immediately.

The King Abdullah Park is one of the venues hosting the two-month "Riyadh Season" entertainment festival, as part of government efforts to promote tourism and open up the Saudi society.

As a part of a contentious liberalisation drive, the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has also introduced various reforms including allowing concerts, re-opening cinemas and lifting a ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, has introduced various reforms and eased social restrictions previously banned in the conservative kingdom.

But Saudi officials have warned that introducing such reforms in a society steeped in conservatism is sure to bring in risk.

While they are wildly popular among Saudi Arabia's majority young population, the reforms could anger arch-conservatives, including hardcore religious leaders and the religious police whose powers have been clipped in recent years.

"Liberals and conservatives in the kingdom are on a collision course and that probably worries Saudi leaders the most. After this attack, we can expect a sharper crackdown on those opposed to Saudi's entertainment push," Quentin de Pimodan, a Saudi expert at the Greece-based Research Institute for European and American Studies, told Aljazeera.

Saudi Arabia has faced international scrutiny over its human rights record since last year's murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents in Istanbul.  

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