I just got back from a Morocco trip and now have a massive doubt with respect to what it looks like a common behaviour in the Medina (old city).
Whenever we wandered around off the souks and main streets, we were immediately followed, harassed even, by locals continuously saying "That way/street is closed". On a couple of occasions, we even were cornered "asking" for money.
I have maps downloaded onto my phone and could check both in the phone and in real life when we were paying any heed to their advise that these streets weren't closed or led to a back end. Some even claimed that GPS would not work there.
Some of these people were often too keen to help us out on our way to the hostel. One evening, on the way to our riad, one little kid sort of lead the way-- which actually wasn't needed as I knew where we were going--and then asked for money since he had guided us.
On some occasions, when the GPS did not work or the openstreet maps weren't accurate enough, I ventured to ask for directions from some people and they either sent us in the wrong direction or to dead end streets.
Talking to other people in our hostel confirmed this experience wasn't unique to us. Rather, in fact, quite common.
This happened markedly in Marrakech but we also experienced it in Fez and Agadir.
So, my question is, why act like this? Why is it so common, and normal, to mislead and confuse people/tourists?