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Posted at 11:39 AM ET, 06/16/2011

Saudi Arabian women to drive Friday despite ban


This photo is being used on a Facebook page called “Teach me how to drive so I can protect myself” (Screengrab from Facebook)
A month after Saudi computer technician Manal Al-Sharif was arrested and jailed for driving her car, women across the country say they will drive their cars Friday despite a ban on driving and threats of violence.

“The risk is high and women are scared,” the group Saudi Women for Driving said in a statement.

“Some of us have been specifically named in Saudi media as ‘traitors,’ Saudi men have threatened to crack the windshield of any woman who tries driving tomorrow, and to beat up any Saudi woman who joined our Change.org campaigns. So this is not going to happen in one day, one week, or even one month. It’s just going to start tomorrow.”

Earlier this week, a Saudi woman reported she had been raped at gunpoint by her hired driver, demonstrating the danger for Saudi women who have to depend on abusive fathers, brothers, husbands and hired drivers for transportation.

The movement started after Sharif recorded a video of herself driving last month that went viral. Sharif was forced to give up her part in the campaign after she was imprisoned in Dammam, but the movement had already grown large enough to continue without her.

Watch Sharif’s driving video:

The largest women’s rights protest in recent memory was in 1990 and saw just 47 women drive through the streets.

Read BlogPost’s earlier coverage of the Saudi driving ban:

Saudi women banned from driving because of ‘gender mixing’

Saudi women demanding right to drive threatened with beatings

Saudi Arabian woman driver freed after after ‘quitting’ campaign

By  |  11:39 AM ET, 06/16/2011

 
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