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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 17 November 2018

Saudi girl arrested after rushing singer onstage

Police say the girl will be charged with harrassment

A screenshot of a the girl rushing the stage during Majed Al Muhandis' perfromance in Taif, Saudi Arabia. Twitter
A screenshot of a the girl rushing the stage during Majed Al Muhandis' perfromance in Taif, Saudi Arabia. Twitter

A Saudi girl was arrested after she rushed the stage to hug Majed Al Muhandis during a concert at the Souq Okaz Festival in Taif, Saudi Arabia at the weekend .

Al Muhandis was performing one of his latest hits when a girl in an abaya ran out of the audience and on to the stage. Security failed to intercept the girl and struggled to pry her off the singer, who made sure to keep his hands outstretched while she hugged him.

The Iraqi-born singer, who has Saudi citizenship, was performing to a full house in a double header with Iraqi superstar Kathem Al Saher.

Police said the girl was arrested shortly after the concert and was taken to the "girls facility" in Taif, indicating she was a minor. They said she would be referred to the public prosecution for violating anti-harassment rules, which were introduced in May ahead of the lifting of the ban on women driving.

A video of the incident emerged on Saturday, drawing criticisms of the security at the show, the organisers and the girl.

"Both the girl and the organisers are in the wrong here. The girl left her seat without anyone stopping her until she was hugging him," tweeted Ghada Al Eidi, a law student and social activist.

Others posted videos of security intercepting audience members rushing the stage at other performances, placing more blame on the security.

The concert in Okaz is the latest in a series of public musical performances that have been staged since Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman began introducing liberalising reforms last year. The changes, which include allowing women to drive and the opening of cinemas, are part of an overall plan to revamp the economy and move kingdom away from dependence on oil revenues.