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Yemen: Hip-hop dance group detained, banned from dancing in public

7 January 2019
Members of Yemeni hip-hop dance group WaxOn Crew were detained by police and made to sign a document saying they would stop dancing in public.
Photo: Wax on Crew / Facebook

 

Five members of Yemeni hip-hop dance group WaxOn Crew were briefly detained by police in the city of Mukalla and only released after they signed a document saying they would stop dancing in public, reported Reuters.

On Facebook, Wax On Crew said authorities descended on hip-hop dancers who had gathered on 7 December 2018 for an organised dance event.

Police allegedly arrested the young people under the order of Hadramout security director Munir Al-Tamimi.

Mohammed Saeed, who was arrested, told local news site Almasdar Online they had their phones confiscated and were not allowed to contact their parents while in detention.

They were told they had been arrested for dancing because it is a religious sin, he said, and were given two options – pledge not to dance hip-hop or stay in detention. They all agreed not to dance.

Security authorities reportedly said the incident “did not limit public freedoms, but we will not allow any harm to the citizens by extraneous behaviour to society and in public places”, Almasdar Online reported.

But WaxOn member Mohamed Baswad questioned by only hip-hop dancers were arrested, not folk dancers.

He told Reuters the ban “reminded him of the ‘al-Qaeda era’ when the dancers were also barred from performing in public”.

The Islamist militants were defeated in Mukalla by UAE-backed forces in 2016.

In April 2018, the Hadramout Ministry of Culture issued a memorandum preventing artists from travelling overseas without official permission.

 

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