A government crackdown and multiple arrests have followed the distribution of video footage that’s said to depict a gay wedding in Saudi Arabia.
Originally posted on social media the series of low-quality cell phone clips appear to show two individuals walking down an aisle accompanied by music with sprays of confetti.
Reportedly filmed near the holy city of Mecca, the video went viral throughout the conservative Muslim-majority nation, sparking condemnation and heated debate around marriage equality.
According to local police, people attending an outdoor event or festival “were surprised when a few young men entered the place and tried to perform a ‘gay wedding scene’”.
To-date it still remains unclear if the apparent wedding was intended to commemorate a real union between two men, or was intended as a performance or prank of some kind.
Despite the confusion and lack of clarity surrounding the partaking, local authorities have taken the matter very seriously, with reports of police arresting a number of people.
“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,” explained local police said in a statement.
According to al-Marsd, a local official, Ali bin Youssef al-Sharif, warned citizens to “adhere to the principles of religion, good morals, and virtuous values”.
Homosexuality is outlawed in all Gulf Cooperation Countries which include Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The event follows the arrest of a group of Pakistani transgender women in Saudi Arabia last year, with reports that one of those detained was tortured and killed by officers while in custody.
Saudi Arabia is one of five countries in the world that has been known to actually execute LGBTI people. Most commonly those found guilty of homosexuality are punished with imprisonment, lashings, and banishment.