All photos by Chantelle D’mello
Saying they are frustrated with the increased police presence on the Corniche during the daily car parade that takes place in Ramadan, several participants have called for a change in venue.
That’s why starting this week, Katara Cultural Village’s main thoroughfare, Shakespeare St., has been jam-packed with a slow-moving motorcade of some of Qatar’s most exotic, colorful and expensive cars.
The procession takes place daily during the fasting month from 5pm until shortly before sunset.
The local tradition is usually held on the Corniche each year, but riders say they have grown tired of police surveillance and fines, so are moving the parade to a less trafficked location.
The move for a change in venue was initiated by a trio of Qatari social media celebrities, headed by Mohammed Al Dosari, who told Doha News there needed to be a “safer place” for friends to hold the daily pre-iftar parade.
“I sent a Snapchat out to all my followers, asking them to meet at Katara instead. At the Corniche, there is too much police. They fine if you don’t wear seat belts, if you stop for someone to take pictures, and other things. Some people here don’t have licenses and they’re scared of the police, so Katara is a better option,” he said.
Yesterday, hundreds of cars could be observed at Katara, partaking in the day’s parade.
In the past, Qatari leaders have lambasted the car parade as a waste of time and for being too ostentatious.
Others have criticized the procession for safety reasons, because of the participation of underage drivers.
Additionally, children are often observed to be hanging out of the cars without seat belts as the vehicles move along public roads.
At Katara, the procession also caused the venue’s main access road to become completely blocked, making it difficult for visitors to stop for karak.
But according to Al Dosari, the parade is not meant to be a social statement – it is simply a recreational activity.
“We do this just to pass time before iftar. People are hungry and need a distraction. That’s all it is,” he said.