Party-crashers: Saudis run for the thrills of a New Year blowout
Shortly before midnight lines of cars snake their way to the border crossing. An estimated 80,000 thirsty refugees crossed in one night.
But they’re not fleeing a war zone or a humanitarian disaster - they’re just looking for a good time. And in Saudi Arabia, this is easier said than done. Celebrating the New Year is banned in the abstinent kingdom, and a drunken night in can lead to one hell of a legal hangover.
Extra border guards and immigration officials were called out to deal with the border-hopping hooch hounds.
Well-off Saudis often make the short trip to Manama in Bahrain to sup on the sauce, visit the cinema and mingle more freely with the opposite sex.
In the run up to Christmas, Saudi authorities broke up a gathering at the house of a foreign diplomatic official.
On Christmas Eve the country’s religious police raided the party, accusing the “severely intoxicated” attendees of “plotting to celebrate Christmas.”