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Saudi Arabia overturns ban on women driving

24 June 2018 World


Saudi Arabian women celebrated being able to drive for the first time in decades Sunday, as the kingdom overturned the world’s only ban on female motorists, a historic reform expected to usher in a new era of social mobility.

The much-trumpeted move is part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s plan to modernise the conservative petrostate — but it has been dented by the jailing of female activists who long opposed the driving ban.

Women in Riyadh and other cities began zipping around streets bathed in amber light soon after the ban was lifted at midnight, with some blasting music from behind the wheel.

The lifting of the ban, long a glaring symbol of repression, is expected to be transformative for many women, freeing them from dependence on private chauffeurs or male relatives.

Euphoria was mixed with disbelief as women across the kingdom flooded social media with videos of their maiden car rides, with a heavy presence of policemen, some of whom distributed flowers to the first-time drivers.

 

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