JUBA, Khartoum (Reuters) - More than 35 young women wearing tight trousers have been arrested for “disturbing the peace” in south Sudan, police said on Tuesday.
Officers said the arrests in Juba, capital of the semi-autonomous region, were part of a crackdown on youth gangs that have sprung up recently and have a reputation for drinking, fighting and public nudity.
The women were arrested on Sunday night, but released without charge on Monday after appearing in court.
“They were wearing trousers that were too tight, disturbing the peace,” said Deputy Police Commissioner of Juba County Raiman Lege.
South Sudan is generally seen as much more liberal than the largely Muslim north, with which it fought a two-decade war that was ended by a 2005 peace deal.
Many Juba citizens reacted angrily to the arrests.
“We saw about 30 girls in two trucks piled up like animals. One girl was just picked up and thrown into the truck,” civil servant Nok Duany told Reuters.
Southern Sudan Gender Minister Mary Kiden was also angry and told Reuters that eight young women had escaped arrest by hiding in her office.