Saudi police detain teenage boy for dancing in the street to 1990s hit song Macarena

A screenshot from an online video of the teenager in action.
A screenshot from an online video of the teenager in action.SCREENSHOT: TWITTER

DUBAI (REUTERS) - Saudi police said on Tuesday (Aug 22) they had detained a 14-year-old boy who was filmed dancing to the 1990s hit song Macarena at a street crossing in the coastal city of Jeddah, in a clip that was widely shared on social media.

The teenager, whose name and nationality were not given, was being questioned because he had shown "improper public behaviour" and disrupted traffic, a statement from Mecca police said. 

In the 45-second video, a teenager wearing a striped T-shirt, grey sports shorts and brightly-coloured shoes strides to the middle of a crosswalk. He starts dancing to the catchy tune in front of five lanes of cars stopped at a traffic light.

An interior ministry statement later said the boy had been released without charge, after he and his legal guardian were summoned for questioning.

“They signed a written pledge that the teen will not engage in behaviour that could endanger his life and the life of others again,” it 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.”

Earlier this month, police arrested and released a Saudi singer for using the "dab" move in an onstage dance. Abdallah al-Shahani appeared on a viral video performing the dance at a music festival in the city of Taif in southwestern Saudi Arabia.

The dance had been banned in the Kingdom by the National Committee for Drug Control, on the grounds that it advocated or encouraged drug abuse, according to Saudi media.

Saudis are among the most active users of social media in the Arab world, using the Internet as an outlet for debate and interaction in their deeply conservative society.