Saudi authorities have been seizing children’s rainbow-patterned toys and clothes because they supposedly promote homosexuality.
A report on state TV station Al Ekhbariya shows officials in a shop – with some of the products bearing the logo Claire’s Accessories – telling a reporter the products posed a risk to young people.
The reporter tells viewers that the items, such as hairpins, poppets, stylized animal face design bags, unicorn headbands, multi-coloured nail polish sets and other rainbow-hued gifts, have been “confiscated”.
On the floor below the reporter and the officials in the shop – which he says is in one of Riyadh’s markets – is a growing pile of rainbow-coloured items apparently pulled from the shelves.
The journalist explains that the items have been seized by the Ministry of Commerce because they relate to homosexuality and, what is “amazing”, is that they are for children.
An official in a green uniform then tells him the colors promote homosexuality and the items “target” the younger generation.
A tweet by the Ministry of Commerce featuring similar pictures has an official telling people that while on a tour of the shopping centre, his team had spotted “a number of violations of public morals,” while showing the camera a pack labeled Crayola.
The translated tweet says: “Our supervisory teams carry out rounds of sales outlets, sixteen and confiscate products that contain symbols and indications that call for anomalies and contradict normal common sense…”
It adds that “legal penalties” have been imposed on those violating the rules.
The rainbow flag has become increasingly adopted as a symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and queer pride and LGBT social movements.
It is thought, however, that the majority of toys seized used the colors for decoration, to appeal to young children.
According to Human Rights Watch, Saudi Arabia outlaws same-sex relations and criminalizes forms of gender expression.