Two men who decided to try to bring some much needed happiness to the streets of Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh has been arrested for engaging in “exotic practices”.
Yesterday, CNN Arabic reported the arrest of two Saudi nationals buy the state’s religious police. The young men, Abdulrahman al-Khayyal and his friend Bandr al-Swed were filmed parading the street of Riyadh brandishing homemade banners and hugging passers by. The video, uploaded to youtube has had over 1.5 million views in under a week.
According to CNN members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice arrested the two men on Wednesday for violating local laws and engaging in “exotic practices”. The two were held for 24 hours before being released only after they had both signed a pledge stating that they would not do this again. In an interview with The Independent, Abdulrahman al-Khayyal said he was inspired by the Free hugs campaign after watching their videos on youtube and that he plans to continue giving out hugs on the street of Riyadh and he was proud of what he had done. He said he considered it an act of charity.
The free hugs movement aims to “brighten up” people’s lives by offering strangers hugs (website).