Saudi Women Gear Up To Defy Driving Ban

Dozens of women have shared videos of themselves driving on major roads and highways across Saudi Arabia ahead of October 26, a day they plan on defying the ban. The videos are available here

Dozens of women have shared videos of themselves driving on major roads and highways across Saudi Arabia ahead of October 26, a day they plan on defying the ban. The videos are available here

Since October 26th has been chosen as a day for defying the government ban on women driving, Saudi women have uploaded videos of themselves preparing for the day. Opponents, on the other hand, sought government harsh enforcement of the ban calling it a “conspiracy” and describing it as a “demonstration” in a country were demonstrations are strictly prohibited.

The campaign's YouTube channel and Instagram profile were filled with videos and photographs of women driving in major roads, and others that are getting trained for driving.

Nasser al-Omar, one of the major conservative Islamist clerics in the country, tweeted [ar]:

Do those who call for women driving understand that they are serving the enemies of this country by getting it into chaos and corruption when it badly needs security, faith and stability?!

al-Omar, and other clerics, tried to visit the Royal Court yesterday, October 22, but they were not given an appointment. In a video recorded outside the royal court [ar], al-Omar said that those who call for women driving “are not taking the legitimate method” (referring to defying the ban, rather than asking the king to repeal it).

The Interior Ministry issued a statement [ar] today, October 23rd, saying:

وعطفاً على ما يثار في شبكات التواصل الاجتماعي وبعض من وسائل الإعلام من دعوات لتجمعات ومسيرات محظورة بدعوى قيادة المرأة للسيارة، وحيث إن الأنظمة المعمول بها في المملكة تمنع كل ما يخل بالسلم الاجتماعي ويفتح باب الفتنة ويستجيب لأوهام ذوي الأحلام المريضة من المغرضين والدخلاء والمتربصين، لذا فإن وزارة الداخلية لتؤكد للجميع بأن الجهات المختصة سوف تباشر تطبيق الأنظمة بحق المخالفين كافة بكل حزم وقوة

Regarding what has been circulating in social media networks and other media channels about forbidden gatherings and demonstrations for women driving, the regulations in the kingdom prohibit whatever violates civil security and calls for temptations of harm-seekers and those with sick dreams. For that reason, the Interior Ministry assures everyone that the specialized authorities will enforce the regulations on those who violate them with firmness and vigor.

The campaign organizers have been insisting that they were not calling for any demonstration:

For those who promote that we are calling for a demonstration on October 26, we want to inform you that we had tirelessly repeated that there will be no demonstration, and this will not weaken our will.

Saudi blogger Fouad al-Farhan compared the statement of the Interior Ministry to Egyptian Armed Forces General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi's statement 48 hours before overthrowing President Mohamed Morsi:

The statement of the Interior Ministry regarding women driving is similar to el-Sisi's that gave a chance for all parties. Each party interpreted the statement as being in their favor.

Amnesty International has also called for signing the campaign petition:


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