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Saudi activists urge women to defy ban on driving

Saudi activists are calling on women to defy a driving ban in a June 29 protest.

Saudi arabia women driving ban 06 17 11Enlarge
A Saudi woman, reportedly named Aziza, defies a ban prohibiting females from driving cars in Saudi Arabia on June 17, 2011, in a rare protest coordinated through social media under the banner "I will drive the car myself day". Still image taken from a video posted to YouTube on June 17, 2011 user "aziza134". (YouTube)

Saudi Arabian activists had scheduled a protest on June 17 to challenge the country's ban on allowing women to drive cars. But the campaign was put on hold following the death of Crown Prince Nayef, the Associated Foreign Press Reported.

Now, activists are calling on women to stage the protest on June 29, Reuters reported. It's unknown how many women will participate, and organizers acknowledged that most will probably sit out. Technically, there is no written law that actually bans women from driving, but they are effectively banned from driving through other means. Saudi law requires that citizens use local licenses, and such types of license are not issued to women. 

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The planned protest follows a similar civil disobedience campaign on June 17 of last year, called Women2Drive and I Will Drive My Own Car, the Guardian reported. About 100 women participated, and many were arrested. One woman was even sentenced to 10 lashes but the sentence was later revoked.

Manal Alsharif, one of the protest organizers, was detained last year after she posted a video of herself driving. "If women don't take action, the authorities will not lift the ban. It is up to women to decide," she told Reuters today.

In addition to being a vocal opponent of the driving ban, Alsharif also works full-time for Aramco, an oil company. She recalls coming home from a doctor's appointment one day and being unable to find a cab or to get a ride from a family member. "On that day Manal feared for her life," Albawaba.com reported

 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/saudi-arabia/120619/saudi-activists-urge-women-defy-ban-driving