Silicon Valley News

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Saudi women defy driving ban

Image from Facebook page "Teach me how to drive"

The detention last month of a Saudi woman who posted a YouTube video showing herself driving has sparked a campaign that will begin June 17 to defy the country's ban on women drivers. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that does not allow women to drive.



Al Sharif, 32, was detained for nine days by Saudi authorities after posting her video encouraging other women to drive. She was released after apparently being pressured to abandon a YouTube, Facebook and Twitter campaign for women drivers inspired by her protests. Her release was also contingent upon her signing a statement pledging not to drive again.



The June 17 campaign was spearheaded by the Twitter/Facebook group #Women2Drive, the Facebook pages "We are supporting Manal Alsharif" and "Teach me how to drive so I can protect myself," and  YouTube supporters called "Honk for Saudi Women."



On June 9, less than two weeks after Manal Al Sharif was arrested, six Saudi women were briefly detained in the capital city of Riyadh after defying the ban on driving.

One of the women drivers detained in Riyadh