Saudi women defy driving ban
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Saudi women defy driving ban

Riyadh : Saudi Arabia | Jun 17, 2011 at 4:45 AM PDT
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A number of Saudi women drove the car on Friday in response to calls for national action to break the traditional ban, only the ultra-conservative kingdom, according to reports on social networks.

The call to defy the ban that covered through Facebook and twitter and the most grand'en the action of the masses in November 1990, when a group of 47 Saudi women have been arrested and was severely punished after show in cars.

"We just returned from the supermarket. My wife has decided to start the day by driving to the store and back," Tawfiq said the gossip columnist on his page Alsaif chirping.

"I brought the King Fahd Street (the street in Riyadh) and then the Olaya Road, with my husband, I decided that for now the car is mine," Maha al-Qahtani has chirped.

Her husband, Mohammed al-Qahtani has twittered that he brought his property needed "ready to go to prison without fear."

Another woman has posted a video online of her drive after midnight Thursday as the first woman to answer the call for protest. The veiled woman drove out almost-empty streets of major until he parked in a supermarket.

"All we need is to go on errands without relying on the drivers," said the unnamed woman in the video. "I think the company is ready to welcome us."

The police patrols were at normal levels on the sleeping streets of Riyadh on the first day of the weekend, an AFP photographer reported.

Many Saudi women were busy on Facebook and twitter to answer the call to challenge the ban on deep-rooted.

But instead of staging demonstrations, which are strictly prohibited in the absolute monarchy, women with driving licenses issued abroad have been encouraged to take individual measures.

Wajih activist for women's rights to the veteran-Huwaida told AFP Friday that the meeting is not expected great as hoped for by sympathisers abroad because of the tough response by officials to women who took the lead in recent weeks.

"Something does not look great as people imagine abroad," he said, adding that the jailing activist Manal al-Sharif and the other has scared some women.

Sharif, a 32-year-old computer, he found himself behind bars for two weeks last month after driving in the second half of the Eastern Province and registration of its shares on the Internet.

Six other women were also arrested shortly after being taken to learn to drive on an empty plot of land in the north of Riyadh.

Women in Saudi Arabia face an array of constraints, must cover from head to align the finger in public and need to have a male guardian's permission to travel, by restricting access to jobs because of strict rules of segregation.

The protests were the culmination of a two-month campaign in the wind that walks the line of so-called Arab Spring, which has spread through the mass of the targeted region and tumble two regimes.

The campaign of the main Facebook page, dubbed Women2Drive, says that the action will begin Friday and keep going "until a royal decree allowing women to drive is issued."

"The Saudi authorities should stop treating women as second-class citizens and opens the way to the drivers of the kingdom of women," Amnesty International said the London-Base Thursday.

"Do not allow the women behind the wheel in Saudi Arabia are a huge barrier to their freedom of movement and severely limits their ability to perform everyday activities as they see fit, as intending to work or the supermarket, or pick up the their children from school, "said Philip Luther, Deputy Director of Amnesty International for the Middle East and North Africa.

There is no law prohibiting women from driving in the oil-rich kingdom, but the Ministry of Internal impose regulations based on a fatwa or religious edict, concluding women should not be allowed to drive.

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Women in Saudi Arabia face an array of constraints, ranging from having to cover from head to toe in public and needing a male guardian's permission to travel, to having restricted access to jobs because of strict segregation rules
Wania Khawar is based in Karāchi, Sind, Pakistan, and is a Stringer for Allvoices.
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