Saudi Police Covertly Combating New Year’s Eve Parties

Saudi authorities in the Eastern Province are ready to stop any New Year’s Eve parties, the daily al-Yaum reported Monday. Eastern Province Police, in collaboration with the Commission to Promote Virtue and Prevent Vince (CPVPV), are secretly watching locations that could host such parties, the newspaper said.

“Closed and secluded areas for women at restaurants and coffee shops have contributed to the increase of such parties that can be difficult to monitor,” EP Police spokesman told the paper, adding that most partygoers are foreign men and women. The spokesman helpfully explained that such parties are categorized as “crimes of mixed parties or committing a sin publicly.”

Only the National Day and the two Islamic holidays, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, are allowed to be celebrated publicly in Saudi Arabia.

The spokesman “hinted” to the supporting role of the CPVPV in keeping a watchful eye on such activities by deploying their patrols at malls, seafronts, beaches and restaurants, according to the paper. CPVPV cannot watch private parties held by expat families at homes, said a source at the Commission, but they hope that mosque imams would warn agains the danger of such parties on the Muslim society.

Neither the spokesman nor the CPVPV source revealed if they have any secret plans to stop people from crossing the King Fahad Causeway to Bahrain or traveling to Dubai to celebrate New Year’s Eve.