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October 25, 2013

Saudi women driving campaign takes detour

Demonstrators navigate around government warnings against planned protest.

An image grab taken from a video uploaded by Saudi activists on YouTube on October 17, 2013 shows a fully veiled woman driving in Riyadh ahead of a planned nationwide day of defiance of the ban on women driving which is due to take place on October 26. (AFP/YOUTUBE)

Activists in Saudi Arabia are trying to circumvent government threats of cracking down on anyone participating in the women's October 26 driving campaign. On Wednesday, General Mansur al-Turki, the interior ministry spokesman, said, "It is known that women in Saudi are banned from driving and laws will be applied against violators and those who demonstrate in support.”

In addition, the government has asked citizens to respect its laws against political dissent, as those discussing the campaign may be in violation. Some women still plan to protest Saturday, while others spread an online campaign to emphasize that the driving protests will continue beyond October 26.