Saudi Police Arrest 'Gay Wedding' Participants From Viral Video

Saudi Arabia

The participants in what appears to be a same-sex wedding ceremony have been arrested in Saudi Arabia.

Mecca authorities released a statement Monday confirming the arrests, after a video of the ceremony went viral on social media. In it, confetti sprays over two men walking side by side, with one wearing what appears to be a bridal veil.

The supposed ceremony, which occurred Friday at a Mecca resort, was reported to police by a male witness.

"The man said people attending the event were surprised when a few young men entered the place and tried to perform a 'gay wedding scene.' The police were told one of the men appeared to be a cross-dresser," read the statement posted to Twitter, according to a translation by Step Feed

"After the cross-dresser and other people involved in the incident were identified, they were all arrested and their case will now be referred to the prosecution," it continued. 

It is illegal to be gay or to dress in gender-nonconforming clothes in Saudi Arabia. Punishments can include fines, torture, imprisonment, and death.

The video sparked considerable backlash after it was posted to Twitter last week. "In the purest spot on earth... two homosexuals marry in Saudi Arabia," wrote an outraged user, referring to Mecca's status as the holiest city in the Muslim faith.

Many questioned whether the ceremony might be a stunt. "A performance? Or a gay wedding?" one user asked.

Others pointed to the video as a sign of progressive change. "This is the new Saudi Arabia, under the leadership of Mohammed bin Salman," another declared. Salman, the newly appointed crown prince, has helped herald an era in which women have gained the right to drive. But conversely, arrests of human rights activists have also spiked under his watch.

Tags: Crime, Muslims

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