Manama: One member of a gang of youngsters who harassed two young women as they took a stroll along the corniche in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah has been arrested.
The arrested individual gave out the names of some members of the group of adolescents who followed the two girls, one of whom was fully veiled and the other with only the upper half of her face showing, Saudi news site Sabq reported on Monday.
The two women pleaded with the raucous teenagers to leave them alone, but their pleas seemed to fall on deaf ears.
The mass harassment was recorded on a smartphone and the video clip went viral on the internet, prompting social media users to call for strong action against the anti-social elements.
Prince Khalid Al Faisal, Governor of Makkah Province, issued directives to arrest those involved and to intensify the security presence in parks and recreational areas to ensure the incident was not repeated.
Bloggers widely condemned the incident.
“This is totally unacceptable, and there should be stringent action,” Golden posted. “They are beasts and they should be severely punished.”
Another blogger writing under the moniker of Saudi said the adolescents were a dishonour to their families. “They are totally ridiculous and they should be taken to a court of law. There is no respect for our traditions and I want to ask if these boys would accept any form of harassment against their sisters or mothers. Unfortunately, many people are no longer concerned with our way of life.”
Habissi said he was looking forward to the reaction of the police. “Now, we will see if there is any difference between the police in the Eastern Province and Jeddah on the west coast,” he posted.
In another case, young men who were arrested in 2013 for harassment were flogged inside the mall where they had verbally abused a group of girls.
The young men were arrested after a video clip of their verbal confrontation with the girls at the mall’s parking lot went viral on social networks.
The court issued jail sentences of between one month and five months to the men and ordered that the lashings be carried out at the mall.
According to a media report, 2,797 harassment cases against women were reported in 2012. Around 60 per cent of the offenders were Saudis while the remaining 40 per cent were foreigners living in the kingdom.