The show organised by Riyadh’s Time Entertainment saw thousands – men and women – turn out in cosplay, a rare example of gender mixing. That it was authorised by the state owned-and-run General Entertainment Authority was considered remarkable, though fits alongside other recent moves including introducing public festivals, comedy shows and concerts throughout the year.
The year began with Jeddah’s major public music concert in over a decade, with the headliner Mohammed Abdo, performing in the more conservative capital of Riyadh next month.
These events have been condemned by Wahhabi imams on Twitter, calling the show a “hideous act” and that it “violates human nature” on twitter, with thousands of followers retweeting, creating condemning hashtags and adding their own support, complaining that “Our heroes on the southern border are sacrificing their lives and enduring great difficulties to protect the country and fools are dancing around and performing shameful acts. Disgraceful.” However thousands more opposed these statements and created counter hashtags, all of which trended on Twitter, and posted videos of older men dancing in traditional robes to drumbeats.