x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Dubai ban on parades keeps revellers at bay

The ban on parades in Dubai seems to have kept some reckless celebratory drivers away this year.

Dubai's Jumeirah Beach Road, so often the focal point of impromptu National Day celebrations, may have been quieter than in previous years but it wasn't completely silent.

The official ban on parades announced by authorities kept the majority of motorists away, but 4x4s, cars and motorbikes decorated with UAE flags and playing Emirati songs loudly from stereos could be seen cruising around one or two at a time.

There were few examples of the reckless celebratory driving usually seen each year, although a some cars had traces of the foam and string sprayed on passersby as a joke by young men.

Police were eager to prevent anyone ready to defy the ban on parades, with patrols scattered up and down the road. Officers could be seen pulling over cars and fining drivers.

On a pavement, Khamis Al Ayali, an elderly Emirati, stood dressed in a dark grey kandura and a red gutra. Clutching his walking stick, he watched the traffic and people celebrating up and down Jumeirah, the place he was born.

"The Jumeirah I grew up in had only palms and desert on one side and the sea on the other. There were no roads or cars," he said.