Saudi Women Take to Road to Defy Driving Ban

Activists in Riyadh get behind the wheel today
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 17, 2011 3:37 AM CDT
Ukrainian feminists protest in support of Saudi women outside the Saudi Arabian embassy in Kiev.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Motorists in the Saudi capital this morning morning may have spotted something rarer than the Arabian unicorn: female drivers. Activists say brave women around the country got behind the wheel before dawn today in a protest against the kingdom's ban on women driving. Despite a heavy police presence, some women managed to drive around Riyadh without incident, a protest organizer tells AP.

There is no written law in Saudi Arabia saying women can't drive, but the ban comes from religious edicts by clerics. One activist who posted a video on YouTube of herself driving was jailed for a week last month and forced to sign a pledge not to drive again. "We have a saying," she told CNN before her detention. "The rain starts with a single drop. This is a symbolic thing."

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