fireworks concerts mark saudi national day
Last Updated : GMT 05:17:37
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Last Updated : GMT 05:17:37
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Fireworks, concerts mark Saudi National Day

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Emiratesvoice, emirates voice Fireworks, concerts mark Saudi National Day

Saudi families arrive outside a stadium to attend an event in Riyadh
Abu Dhabi - Emirates Voice

With iconic buildings bathed in green light and planned cultural shows, concerts and fireworks, Saudi Arabia geared up to celebrate the anniversary of the founding of the kingdom on Saturday.

Car stereos blared patriotic songs as citizens began racing through the streets of the capital Riyadh at midnight in cars bedecked with the national flag to mark the annual event in the kingdom, founded in the 1930s.

The national day celebration coincides with a crucial time for Saudi Arabia, which is in a battle for regional influence with arch-rival Iran, bogged down in a controversial military intervention in neighbouring Yemen and at loggerheads with fellow US Gulf ally Qatar.

"On this great occasion, we feel that the kingdom has become an important state with a pioneering role at the regional and international levels," Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in a speech cited by the official Saudi Press Agency.

The 32-year-old prince is set to be the first millennial to occupy the throne in a country where half the population is under 25, though the timing of his ascension remains unknown.

Already viewed as the de facto ruler controlling all the major levers of government, from defence to economy, the prince is seen as stamping out traces of internal dissent before any formal transfer of power from his father King Salman.

Authorities this month arrested around two dozen people, including influential clerics, in what activists decried as a coordinated crackdown.

Analysts say many of those detained are resistant to Prince Mohammed's aggressive foreign policy that includes the boycott of Gulf neighbour Qatar as well as some of his bold reforms, dubbed Vision 2030, which include privatising state assets and cutting subsidies.

Source: Khaleej Times

 

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