Five Saudi women in custody for breaking driving ban
2 July 2011
The Saudi authorities have stepped in to temper the momentum of Saudi Women for Driving.
It is against religious law for women to drive in the Arabian country, a fact of life that Saudi women have now decided to fight. The campaign began earlier this year, headed by Manal al-Sharif, with a video she produced and her taking to the streets behind the wheel of a car, then with a plea to Subaru to stop selling cars in The Kingdom. In early June, 40 Saudi women drove en masse, in an escalation of their efforts, and since then scores more have driven through the capital and other cities.
The authorities didn't respond to those provocations, but they have to this latest one: five women were arrested while driving in the coastal city of Jiddah. There's been no update on their situation, with another rights activist only able to wonder, "We aren't sure what it means at this point and whether this is the start of a harder line by the government against the campaign."