Egypt says ‘free hug day’ is effort to incite debauchery

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“Free hug day” is not being embraced by Egyptian officials.

Egyptian officials have vowed to arrest anyone participating in "free hug day."
Egyptian officials have vowed to arrest anyone participating in “free hug day.”

In a country where public displays of affection are frowned upon, officials see “free hug day” as an effort to incite debauchery.

In fact, Egyptian authorities have vowed to arrest any participant in the hug festival planned by online activists for March 31 in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada.

“We have not received any application for organizing this event,” said chief of the tourism police Ahmad Chahin. “Such events cannot be approved because they contradict Egyptian laws and public morality. Anyone participating in such an activity would be arrested and prosecuted.”

The anonymous organizers of the event called for a hug congregation in New Marina, an epicenter of Hurghada.

“We’d like to be like the outside world, having freedom to do what we want without interference from others,” the organizers said in an online message. “Let everyone exchange hugs and kisses.”

Inciting debauchery is considered a criminal offense in Egypt and is punishable by up to three years in prison.

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