Motorbikes and boards kick Saudi Arabia’s Sharqiah Season off with a vroom

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Biking club members from Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, the UAE, Kuwait, Jordan and the Philippines joined families for a day of motorcycle-related events. (Arab News/Essam Al-Ghalib)
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Many families at the festival event picnicked in the park, and children were entertained taking part in various activities organized by the General Sports Authority. (SPA)
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In Dammam, motorcycle fans from all over the region and beyond attended the Saudi Bike Show. (Arab News/Essam Al-Ghalib)
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The festival will feature more than 80 events across all the major cities in Eastern Province, including Dammam, Dhahran, Alkhobar, Al-Ahsa and Jubail. (Arab News/Essam Al-Ghalib)
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The Saudi Bike Show is on until Saturday from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. (Arab News/Essam Al-Ghalib)
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Spectators watched bikers and boarders perform gravity-defying stunts on ramps and jumps. (Arab News/Essam Al-Ghalib)
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Local BMX bikers also showcased their skills as they hopped and spun their cycles. (Arab News/Essam Al-Ghalib)
Updated 17 March 2019
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Motorbikes and boards kick Saudi Arabia’s Sharqiah Season off with a vroom

  • Sharqiah Season is the first of 11 scheduled festivals planned in the Kingdom in 2019
  • Future seasons will focus on different areas of Saudi Arabia, with varying entertainment options for each city

AL-AHSA: The second day of Sharqiah Season got off with a vroom as hundreds of motorcyclists descended on a Saudi city for a major bike show.
Thousands of festival-goers on Friday flocked to music, arts and sports events taking place throughout the Kingdom’s Eastern Province.
In Dammam, motorcycle fans from all over the region and beyond attended the Saudi Bike Show, which continues on Saturday in Life Park. Biking club members from Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, the UAE, Kuwait, Jordan and the Philippines joined families for a day of motorcycle-related events.
Among the visitors enjoying stunt performances, displays and trade stands was Mohammed Al-Amari, a 32-year-old Saudi, and his seven-year-old son, Majid, who was wearing full motorcycle gear including a child’s helmet.
Elsewhere, at the King Abdullah Adventure Park, in Al-Ahsa, large crowds gathered to watch “Battle of the Champions,” an event organized by the Festival International des Sports Extremes (FISE), which featured some of the world’s top skateboard, BMX, parkour and rollerblade athletes.

See more photos from Sharqiah Season’s opening weekend here

Spectators watched bikers and boarders perform gravity-defying stunts on ramps and jumps, and local BMX bikers also showcased their skills as they hopped and spun their cycles on a separate stage next to the main event.
A training space was also set up for younger visitors to try out a few tricks of their own, with children strapping on rollerblades in padded enclosure, under the eye of trained athletes.
Many families at the festival event picnicked in the park, and children were entertained taking part in carnival-style sports games organized by the General Sports Authority.
Mishaal Al-Qahtani, from Al-Ahsa, told Arab News: “I’m glad that the beauty of Al-Ahsa is being shared with the rest of Saudi Arabia at last. It’s about time the focus shifted from Riyadh and Jeddah. Saudi Arabia has so much more to share. Sharqiah deserves this time to shine.”
Amani Al-Omran had traveled from Alkhobar to witness the FISE event. “We used to be chastised for wasting our time with bikes and skateboards. Now this huge event is happening right in our home town. It’s amazing.”
In Jubail, more than 29 internationally renowned artists took part in the Tawiyyah Arts Exhibition as part of Sharqiah Season. The display, staged at Al-Fanateer’s cultural center in Jubail’s industrial city, featured 41 works of art created including paintings, sculptures, photo imaging, Arabic calligraphy and batik.
Spectacular 3-D presentations told stories through moving images projected onto the SABIC building in the heart of the industrial city, and there were interactive water shows and visual displays for visitors to enjoy on Al-Fanateer beach. Not all the Sharqiah Season events went to plan, with fireworks on Alkhobar Corniche having to be postponed on Thursday night due high winds. But the cancelation failed to dampen the spirits of visitors. Meshari Daghistani said organizers were doing an “amazing” job.
Sharqiah Season is the first of 11 scheduled festivals planned in the Kingdom in 2019.
In a collaborative effort by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, the General Entertainment Authority, the General Culture Authority and the General Sports Authority, the project aims to deliver an extensive entertainment experience for both Saudi citizens and foreign tourists.
The festival will feature more than 80 events across all the major cities in Eastern Province, including Dammam, Dhahran, Alkhobar, Al-Ahsa and Jubail.
Future seasons will focus on different areas of Saudi Arabia, with varying entertainment options for each city. There will be festivals concentrating on parts of the year such as Ramadan, Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha.
Sharqiah Season continues in the Eastern Province until March 30, with sports events such as the Red Bull Air Race and Formula 1 H20 boat race, and concerts in Dammam featuring US singer Akon, Canadian DJ Deadmau5, US rapper Pitbull and US-Moroccan rapper French Montana.
The Saudi Bike Show is on until Saturday from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. and is open to all ages, while the FISE “Battle of the Champions” continues on Saturday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.


Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki at a press briefing. (SPA file photo)
Updated 19 March 2019
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Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

  • Houthis want to disturb peace, says coalition spokesman
  • Stockholm peace agreement under strain

RIYADH: The Arab coalition supporting the internationally recognized Yemeni government is committed to protecting regional and global security, a spokesman said Monday.

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki was asked at a press briefing about Houthi militias threatening to target the capitals of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

“This is their way to disturb peace,” Al-Maliki replied. “Previously the Houthis targeted Riyadh with a ballistic missile, violating all international laws by attacking a city that has more than 8 million civilians. We take all precautions to protect civilians and vital areas. The coalition works to protect regional and international security.”

Al-Maliki said Houthis had targeted Saudi border towns several times, the most recent incident taking place in Abha last Friday.

But the Saudi Royal Air Defense Force had shot down a drone that was targeting civilians, he added.

He said four Saudi nationals and an Indian expatriate were injured in the attack because of falling debris.

The drone wreckage showed the characteristics and specifications of Iranian manufacturing, he said, which proved Iran was continuing to smuggle arms to the militias.

He warned the Houthis to refrain from targeting civilians because the coalition, in line with international humanitarian law, had every right to counter such threats.

He said the coalition was making efforts to neutralize ballistic missiles and dismantle their capabilities, as the coalition’s joint command would not allow the militia to possess weapons that threatened civilian lives and peace.

Al-Maliki reiterated that the Houthis were targeting Yemeni civilians and continued to violate international laws. 

He also urged Yemenis to try their best to prevent children from being captured by Houthis, who were using them as human shields and child soldiers.

His comments came as the UN tried to salvage a peace deal that was seen as crucial for ending the country’s four-year war.

The Stockholm Agreement was signed by the Yemeni government and Houthi representatives last December.

The main points of the agreement were a prisoner exchange, steps toward a cease-fire in the city of Taiz, and a cease-fire agreement in the city of Hodeidah and its port, as well as ports in Salif and Ras Issa.

Militants triggered the conflict when they seized the capital Sanaa in 2014 and attempted to occupy large parts of the country. An Arab coalition intervened in support of the internationally recognized government in March 2015.

The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since 2015.

Earlier this month US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that President Donald Trump’s administration opposed curbs on American assistance to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

“The way to alleviate the Yemeni people’s suffering isn’t to prolong the conflict by handicapping our partners in the fight, but by giving the Saudi-led coalition the support needed to defeat the Iranian-backed rebels and ensure a just peace,” Pompeo said at a news conference in Washington.