- 14-year-old arrested for dancing in the middle of a street in Jiddah
- Saudi police termed it as violation of 'public morality'
- Likely to be released with a warning or a fine, given his age
On Tuesday, Saudi authorities arrested the teen. His crime, according to Col. Atti bin Attia Al-Qurashi, a police spokesman, is that the dancing was "a disruption of traffic and violation of public morality," the government-linked Sabq news site reported.
The arrest comes at somewhat of a crossroads for the Sunni kingdom. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 31, is trying to modernize the conservative society and make it less stifling culturally. He has encouraged art and food festivals and live music concerts that have in the past been banned.
But the teen's arrest underscores the strong traditional influences that still grip society in a nation where Western dancing and music is frowned upon. A Saudi performer was reportedly arrested this month for performing the popular "dab" dance move during a concert.
It's unlikely that the teen will serve time in jail or even be formally charged, but he will probably be released with a warning or a fine, given his age. Indeed, on Wednesday, some local reports indicated that he'd been released.
As one would expect, social media erupted with news of the arrest. And Saudis were divided over the boy's actions. Some described him as "a hero," while others called him "discourteous" and urged that he be punished. The Arab News, a leading English daily in the Middle East, published several Arabic translations of tweets in response to the arrest.
"Does he know that school is nearing? Or is he one of those spoiled kids going to private schools?" asked one commenter.
Others said the teen was merely being a kid, and that the Saudi authorities were overreacting.
"Not everything should be solved through police and public prosecution," one observer said in a tweet translated by the Arab News. "He is just a kid who wanted to enjoy his time. Don't make a big fuss about it."
"Some people were indoctrinated to denounce everything joyful," said a man named Tariq. "The kid is really a hero because he dared to spread joy in the presence of all those wretched people." Tariq then encouraged the teen to "dance away" and not worry about his detractors, said the Arab News.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)