As contestants put on dance performances at a glittering opening ceremony, around 100 police, including some armed with rifles, patrolled around the building where the contest is being held on the south of the island.

Hundreds of police have been deployed at hotels and venues linked to the pageant, which has caused anger in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation.

Thousands of Islamic hardliners have taken to the streets across the country during the past week, denouncing the show as “smut and pornography” and burning effigies of the organizers.