“Harlem Shake” protests spring up in the Middle East

In America, the Harlem Shake is just a craze to cure office boredom, but in the Middle East, it’s becoming political.

An event on Facebook is circulating seeking participants to perform the viral dance in front of ruling party Muslim Brotherhood’s headquarters next Thursday. The protest comes just days after four students were arrested in Cairo for doing the Harlem Shake, which police deemed as a “scandalous act.”

“We’re creating a new group called Satiric Revolutionary Struggle that aims to send clear messages to the Muslim Brotherhood through satire,” said activist Farid Sayed. The group blossomed after the Feb. 23 arrests.

The protest, which will take place in the southeastern Cairo suburb of Mokattam, will be monitored under the close eye of the Muslim Brotherhood. Spokesperson Mahmoud Ghozlan said the group welcomes peaceful demonstrations but violent protesters will be arrested.

“It is not guaranteed to be peaceful. These matters always lead to violence which is unacceptable,” said Ghozlan.

Harlem Shake-themed political protests have also gripped Tunisia after the country’s education minister called the dance an “insult to educational message.” Last Friday, throngs of students skipped class to perform in front of the Ministry of Education in protest.

Protester Asma Moussa wrote on Facebook that the government has “once again violated freedom of creation, of expression” Adding “all of these represent, in my eyes, fundamental freedoms.”

Photo via Wajih Karray/YouTube

Jordan Valinsky

Jordan Valinsky

A former editorial operations specialist and staff writer for the Daily Dot, Jordan Valinsky is a tech reporter and web culture commentator. His work has been published by the Week, Digiday, CNNMoney, Popular Mechanics, Vice, Mic, and Betabeat.