From Saturday to Thursday Justice Square in downtown Riyadh, Saudi Arabia is a normal courtyard in front of the Ministry of Justice building. Children play in the water fountains and men play soccer in the vast openess while women gather and chat.
Then Friday comes around. On Friday thieves who were caught for the third time and murders are drained of blood to lower their resistance. They are then brought to the square where the fountains do not run, children and men do not play, and women do not chat. Instead the square is filled with people who want to see what some call "chop-chop square." A Saudi police man has a sword while an imam gives prayers.
Non-Muslims are actually highly encouraged to go the front of the crowd. Saudis like to show off what "true justice" is. Meanwhile, as a Saudi told me, the government likes to tell the condemned that the last thing they will see is an infidel looking at them.
The deed is done and the crowd disperses. The fountains begin to run again. The water helps wash the blood into the drains. The kids, men, and women return to Justice Square to talk and play.