RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia is celebrating its National Day with an array of family-friendly festivities, including allowing women to enter the main stadium in the capital, Riyadh, for the first time, to see a performance recounting the country’s founding 87 years ago.

The King Fahd stadium has previously been reserved for male-only crowds to watch soccer matches.

The kingdom has planned several days of festivities starting Saturday to whip up patriotism amid tensions over austerity measures, the arrest of prominent figures, a diplomatic standoff with Qatar and war in Yemen.

Skyscrapers have been lit green in the color of Saudi Arabia’s flag and adorned with towering images of King Salman and his son Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who was named heir in June.

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.