Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Hajj Bandar Hajjar said on Tuesday that the kingdom will not allow political demonstrations during the annual Muslim pilgrimage.
In an interview with Al Arabiya television, Hajjar said hajj is a religious and spiritual gathering and the kingdom has a responsibility to ensure that the pilgrims are not distracted during hajj.
He said field teams from his ministry will be monitoring the activity of the pilgrims, whose numbers are expected to exceed two million.
The number of pilgrims has been reduced this year due to development plans intended to expand the holy mosque.
“The proportion of pilgrims outside of Saudi Arabia has been reduced by 20 percent while the percentage of reduction from inside the kingdom has been reduced by 50 percent,” Hajjar said.
Official spokesman of the ministry of hajj, Hatem ghadi, meanwhile said “the absorptive capacity which used to absorb 42,000 fell to 22,000 per hour during the past year”
“In this period we must all coexist together” he added.
Hajjar said the development plan is meant to eventually raise the capacity of pilgrims to seven million.
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