A photo showing members of Saudi Arabia’s religious police stopping women from using playground swings has gone viral online, garnering both praise and outrage on social media outlets.
The photo started circulating on Twitter on January 13. Though it was first posted by Arabic-speaking Twitter users, it was soon widely relayed by others the world over. The image was also picked up by news sites, both in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. These articles confirm that the incident did indeed take place, but do not mention the date or location.
Here’s one example of the many tweets denouncing the police’s interference. It reads: “There’s no hope, girls, soon they’ll be kicking us out of the country!”
Another example, this time in English:
In Saudi Arabia, women are also fighting for the right to drive cars.
Susie, an American woman who lives in Jeddah, also expressed her outrage on her blog:
Don't these people realize that there is something seriously wrong with a country when a woman cannot feel safe from men bothering her when she is doing something as innocent as swinging in a public park in broad daylight? […]These women who are in a group, fully covered in black from head to toe, are outside, merely trying to enjoy the cooler weather and get some fresh air. Heaven knows, most of the year is too darn hot for women dressed up like nuns to enjoy being outdoors because of the oppressive heat! These women are not out looking to tempt men or trying to attract unwanted attention. These girls just want to have a little fun! What is wrong with that?