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sobota, 11 czerwca 2011

Six women 
arrested for driving 
in Riyadh

(Reuters, AFP)

Saudi authorities detained six women on Thursday for driving cars in the capital in defiance of laws allowing only male motorists on the kingdom’s roads.

Saudi Arabia has no formal ban on women driving. But as citizens must use only Saudi-issued licences in the country, and as these are issued only to men, women drivers are anathema.
Outcry at the segregation has been fuelled by social media interest in two would-be female motorists arrested last month.
Rasha Al Duwaisi, one of those detained on Thursday, put the ages of the group at between 21 and 30 and said they had met in Hettein district of Riyadh late in the afternoon to teach each other how to drive using three cars.
They were quickly taken to a police station in Sahafa street and instructed to summon “male guardians” to collect them from custody. “It’s not the first time we have done this,” Duwaisi said by telephone from the station.
“It’s my right to drive and my right to know how to drive. I suffer because I can’t drive because I have to rely on a driver that I share with four others.”
Many families in Saudi Arabia have at least one driver with an average salary of around 2,000 Saudi rials ($533) per month. Those who cannot afford this assign a male member of family to drive its women, which often amounts to a time-consuming burden.
Two of the other detainees were Duwaisi’s sisters, she said, adding that she met the other three on Facebook and Twitter. — AFP
Saudi authorities last month arrested Manal Alsharif, who posted a YouTube video of herself driving in the Eastern Province and calling on other women to do the same. Alsharif has been released but faces charges of “besmirching the kingdom’s reputation abroad and stirring up public opinion”.
Another woman, Shaima Osama, was also arrested for driving last month in Jeddah. She too was later released

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