x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Royal pardon for National Day drivers

Revellers who blocked the streets on National Day and had their cars impounded have been pardoned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid.

Revellers who blocked the streets on National Day and had their cars impounded have been pardoned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Ruler of Dubai and Vice President of the UAE. About 130 vehicles were seized after they were found to be obstructing traffic and causing jams during the celebrations on December 2, the state news agency, WAM, reported. Sheikh Mohammed ordered those who had broken traffic laws in the spirit of the celebration to be pardoned, provided they pledged to refrain from causing similar traffic chaos in the future. The authorities have been ordered to tell the owners of the seized cars to collect them.

Police said more than 1,350 people caused problem during the annual tradition, which involves decorating vehicles with stickers, decals and flags, and parading them through main streets while honking horns and causing engines to backfire. Both Abu Dhabi and Dubai are traditionally reduced to gridlock as revellers take over the streets on National Day. This year's celebrations were colourful. In the capital, the Emirates Palace hotel hosted an annual fireworks display, and both Emiratis and expatriates crowded the Corniche.

A stage and 10,000 seats had been set up for concerts by Fadel Shaker, Al Wassmy and Sherine Abdel Wahab. Concerts were also held in Al Ain and Al Gharbia. gfray@thenational.ae