Saudi Arabia: Theater performers stabbed onstage | News | DW | 12.11.2019
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Saudi Arabia: Theater performers stabbed onstage

The attack took place during a performance in Riyadh that was part of a two-month entertainment festival. The Saudi crown prince has actively promoted musical and theater events that were once banned.

Three people have been stabbed in Saudi Arabia's capital, Riyadh, while they performed onstage during a festival, according to local media.

"Security forces dealt with a ... stabbing attack against two men and a woman from a theater group during a live performance," a police spokesman was quoted as saying by the official Saudi press agency.

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State news agency SPA said the victims sustained "superficial wounds" and were stabilized after receiving medical care.

The attack on the performers took place in Riyadh's King Abdullah Park, a venue that is hosting the two-month Riyadh Season festival, an entertainment event offering live shows and music, light installations, wall climbing and zip lining.

Motive remains unclear

Footage of the attack was posted on Twitter by state television Al Ekhbariya. In the video, a man is seen rushing onstage in the middle of the performance, being chased by a security guard as he stabbed the performers.

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SPA reported that the assailant was a 33-year-old Yemeni resident. The motive of the attack remains unclear.

Entertainment events like the Riyadh Season festival were once banned in the ultraconservative kingdom but are now part of a concerted effort by the government to open up Saudi society.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has sought to ease social restrictions, risking a backlash from religious critics and conservative elements.

Saudi Arabia has hosted performances by a wide range of international artists, from South Korean boy band BTS to pop icon Janet Jackson and rapper 50 Cent.

jcg/cmk (AP, dpa, Reuters)

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