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Wed 31 Oct 2018 09:23 AM

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Philippines warns nationals against Halloween, Christmas parties in Saudi Arabia

17 Filipinos were detained at a Halloween party in Riyadh earlier this week

Philippines warns nationals against Halloween, Christmas parties in Saudi Arabia
The embassy reminded Filipinos "to refrain from organising or attending events or gatherings that are unsanctioned or without permission from the government of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia."

The embassy of the Philippines in Saudi Arabia is warning its nationals living in the kingdom to avoid holding unsanctioned Halloween and Christmas parties, following the arrest of 17 people at a Halloween party in Riyadh earlier this week.

In a statement posted to its website, the embassy reminded Filipinos "to refrain from organising or attending events or gatherings that are unsanctioned or without permission from the government of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia."

"In addition, everyone is reminded to avoid mixed crowds, consuming liquor and holding public practice of traditions that are associated with religions other than Islam, such as Halloween, Valentines and Christmas,” the statement added.

The statement also warned Filipino expatriates to avoid disseminating “anything that compromises public order, religious values, public morals and privacy” to avoid falling afoul of Saudi Arabia’s cybercrime laws.

Earlier this week, the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed that 17 of its citizens were arrested by Saudi authorities for participating in a Halloween party.

According to a DFW statement, the 17 were part of a larger group of people taken into custody when Saudi security forces raided a compound in which the party was taken place, following complaints of loud noises from neighbours.

Ambassador Adnan Alonto said it was “not immediately clear” what charges were filed against the detained Filipinos, but initial evidence suggested that the party’s organisers had been charged with holding an event without a permit and for causing a public disturbance.