A still image from a YouTube video that apparently shows an Asian worker in orange overalls being repeatedly hit by a man with a Saudi accent wearing a traditional white robe. Image altered to protect the victim's identity. Image Credit: YouTube

Manama: A widely circulated video of a man reported to be a Saudi national beating up a street cleaner has drawn public condemnation.

There was no explanation for the circumstances surrounding the incident, but the man who filmed the scene said that the Saudi national was upset with the cleaner for allegedly harassing his wife, Saudi news site Al Marsad reported.

The video, which went viral, showed the man asking the cleaner if he planned to go to the house again and the victim answering that he wanted to put an end to his life.

Bloggers and online users quickly criticised the “savage beating” regardless of the motives.

“The police must identify the Saudi man and punish him severely for his horrible act,” Abu Salman, a blogger, posted. “He had no right whatsoever to beat the man and should have taken him to the police and to an investigation commission in order to secure justice,” he added.

“If the cleaner is guilty, then he should be referred to the court. But, if he is innocent, he should be freed and the Saudi punished because he committed a crime.”

Another blogger, writing under the moniker “Justice”, said the state should support the expatriate worker.

“Everybody should condemn the assault,” Justice wrote. “Even the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice should condemn it because it is a horrible act that shows a shocking lack of sensitivity and human feelings.”

Ahmad posted that beating up someone was rejected from the religious, legal and social perspectives.

“We are not sure the cleaner could harass the Saudi’s wife. Even if that is the case, there is an authority and there are laws that deal with the situation. No one should take the law into their own hands,” he said.

The few bloggers who did not condemn the beating said they understood the man’s anger over the alleged harassment of his wife and his wish to defend his and her honour.

Saudi Arabia is home to around nine million expatriates, mainly unskilled labourers and workers in the construction and service sectors. They constitute around one third of the total population in the kingdom.