Riyadh: Saudi Kingdom’s Interior Ministry has warned that it would punish women who drive, and those men who support them, as the one-year anniversary approaches of a nationwide campaign calling on the Saudi government to lift the ban on women driving.
The campaign was launched on Oct. 26 last year.
“Female drivers in Saudi Arabia will be dealt with strictly,” said a statement released by the ministry. “The ministry will apply regulations firmly against those who violate the country’s laws,” it said.
Speaking to Arab News, Hoda Abdulrahman Al-Helaissi, a female member of the Shoura Council, supported the move to allow women to drive, but said this was not the right time.
“We are not fully prepared as Saudi society is undergoing massive changes on all fronts. There is still substantial resistance from a huge segment of Saudi society, who do not want women to use cars on the roads.”
Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki, the ministry’s spokesman, was quoted as saying on an online news website that people “should not undermine the Kingdom’s social cohesion by spreading discord …”
A Saudi woman said that the campaign has been enlisting women willing to take cars onto the roads on Oct. 26, 2014.
Last year, the ministry issued similar warnings to the organizers of the campaign, which saw women posting videos of them driving on roads across the Kingdom.
Many activists are using social media to promote the campaign. They have encouraged women to post pictures of them driving, on Twitter, YouTube and WhatsApp.
(Reported by Ghazanfar Ali Khan, Arab News)
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