Saudi Arabia detains woman for defying driving banMay 23rd, 2011 - 1:59 am ICT by BNO News
JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA (BNO NEWS) — Saudi authorities on Sunday arrested a female activist for driving her car in the eastern town of Khobar, defying a long standing ban on women’s driving.
Emirates 24/7 reported that Manal Al Sharif was being interrogated by police, after she was spotted by many people driving her car through the streets of Khobar. Friends gathered outside the police centre to demand her immediate release.
Manal is part of a group of Saudi Arabian women who have launched a campaign against the ban on women driving cars in Saudi Arabia. The campaign, titled “I will drive my own car,” calls for women to drive their cars on June 17.
“Every lady has something to do in the city, she’ll just drive, do her business and come back. So, it’s as simple as that. People can’t call it a demonstration, we’re not going against the law, we’re not going against anyone, we’re not even demonstrating,” Manal Al Sharif told Gulf News.
“Two-thirds of our salaries go to drivers and we keep one-third of our salaries to ourselves. There’s no public transport either. You can’t walk in the street, you can’t drive your own car, there’s no public transportation, you have to take a taxi or a private driver,” she added.
The group, “Women 2 Drive,” conducted an online study, garnering 1,239 respondents. A total of 84 per cent support women starting to drive on June 17, while 57 per cent said they were not going to drive their own car on the day. In addition, 81 per cent of respondents also said that they did not have a driver’s licence.
In 1990, a fatwa was issued against women driving, after a number of Saudi women drove a convoy of cars through Riyadh in protest of regulations prohibiting them from doing so.
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