A 14-year-old boy in Saudi Arabia was arrested by authorities after a year-old video emerged of him dancing to the Spanish-language song the “Macarena” in the port city of Jeddah.
In a statement, authorities confirmed they had arrested the teenager on grounds of “improper public behavior” and for disrupting traffic.
During the 45-second video, the teenager, wearing a striped T-shirt, gray sports shorts, and brightly colored shoes walks to the middle of a crossing and starts dancing to the song in front of five cars waiting at the traffic lights.
Jeddah boy dancing in the middle of Tahlia Street is the hero we need pic.twitter.com/fui9v2UuDF
— Ahmed Al Omran (@ahmed) August 19, 2017
Despite Saudi Arabia being known for its ultra conservative Islamic attitudes towards anything sexually suggestive, the country claimed the incident was merely a safety risk and asked his guardians to sign a pledge before his release.
“They signed a written pledge that the teen will not engage in behavior that could endanger his life and the life of others again,” the ministry said. “The notification was solely intended to warn the boy about potential consequences for his own safety, as well as to safeguard the overall safety of motorists and pedestrians.”
According to the Saudi Okaz newspaper, the boy simply “was showing off” as part of a stunt to impress his friends.
This month, police arrested Saudi singer Abdallah Al Shahanifor for using the “dab” move during a performance at a music festival in the city of Taif in south-western Saudi Arabia, a dance move which involves pointing one’s arm upwards whilst also bowing their head into their other arm. He was later released.
— Lee Harvey (@MusikFan4Life) August 12, 2017
Saudi Arabia is notorious for its regressive treatment of women, where Sharia Law dictates that women must not freely interact with men, drive a car, practice sports, or even go for a swim. All women must also wear a hijab, while many are forced to wear burqas, where only their eyes are visible.