A 14-year-old boy was reportedly arrested on Monday for standing in the middle of Tahila Street in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and dancing to the 1990s famous song, “Macarena,” when the video of his performance went viral on Twitter.
According to the Express, the boy performed the dance in July 2016, but the matter was not brought to the notice of the Saudi Arabian officials until the video of his dance went viral recently, following which he was arrested 13 months later.
In the video, a teenage boy wearing a white and black striped shirt, shorts and headphones can be seen walking to the middle of the road, facing the incoming traffic, and starting to dance on the zebra crossing. The clip of his dance lasts 45 seconds and is believed to have been originally uploaded last year. However, it is only recently that the video has gained recognition on social media.
It is unclear if the traffic signal remained red throughout the time that the boy delivered his performance, but vehicles seemed to come to a stop before the pedestrian crossing.
Police claim that the teenager was detained by their department because he showed “improper public behavior" that led to the disruption of traffic. Police spokesman Colonel Ati bin Atiyyah al-Qurashi said that the boy’s case will be handled by the public prosecutor, RT reported.
However, Twitter users from Saudi Arabia did not think that the teenager should have been arrested for his actions. Many stood up in defense of the boy, claiming that he should not be penalized for simply exercising his freedom of expression.
According to Arab News, many conservative people in the Middle East are blaming the lack of religious police on the streets of Saudi Arabia, who could have prevented the boy from performing in public. Others have condemned the General Entertainment Authority (GEA), created on May 7, 2016, by royal decree, which is responsible for the nation’s expanding entertainment sector. The GEA has organized various music and dance activities across the kingdom, and according to some people critical of it, the teen’s behavior may have been a result of its influence.
This was not the first instance that an individual was arrested for dancing in public. On Aug. 8, Saudi Arabian singer Abdallah Al Shaharani was arrested for performing an illegal “dab” move in a music festival in the city of Taif, Saudi Arabia.
After a video of him cheering on the crowd and dabbing at the end went viral on social media incurring strong reactions from the public as well as city officials, he posted an apology for the same saying: "I apologize to our respected government and to my audience for unintentionally and spontaneously making the dance move at Taif festival. Please accept my apology."
The particular dance move was ruled illegal in Saudi Arabia by the National Committee for Drug Control because according to them, it promoted drug and narcotics culture, the Telegraph reported. Furthermore, the committee ruled that the “dab” references marijuana and other illegal drugs.