Despite the threat of arrest, women in Saudi Arabia took to the streets to protest the ban prohibiting women from driving – by getting behind the wheel.
Women filmed themselves driving on Saturday, posting the videos on YouTube and spreading the campaign across social media. But the October 26th Women Driving Campaign website was hacked two days before the protest, with the hacker writing “Red Yellow Green Drop the leadership of Saudi women .. Accident,” according to Softpedia.
CNN reported that five women were stopped by authorities and detained until a “male guardian” arrived to escort them home. They were also required to sign a pledge not to drive again.
Mai Al-Swayan, an economic researcher, told CNN she drove from home to a grocery store in Riyadh, and then back with her groceries.
“I drove on the highway and was noticed by a couple of cars but they were fine with it,” Al-Swayan said. “I’m very proud. I feel like we accomplished the purpose of our campaign.”
Women have been protesting for the right to drive for nearly 20 years in Saudi Arabia, the only country that forbids women from driving. During the first driving protest in 1995, 50 women were arrested and were required to sign a declaration promising not to drive again, according to Sky News.
“It is astonishing that in the 21st century the Saudi authorities continue to deny women the right to legally drive a car,” Philip Luther, director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa program, told CNN.
“The driving ban is inherently discriminatory and demeaning to women and must be overturned immediately,” Luther said. “It is completely unacceptable for the authorities to stand in the way of activists planning to campaign against it.”
Watch the report via CNN: