Midnight cheers and disbelief as Saudi Arabia ends ban on women driving

A woman practices infront of a screen during driving lessons

RENAULT has stolen a march on its Formula One rivals, giving a Saudi Arabian woman a chance to mark a special day by driving one of its cars ahead of today's French Grand Prix.

Female drivers took to the roads in Saudi Arabia on Sunday after a decades-long ban was lifted, making it the last country in the world to allow women behind the wheel.

It's a historic moment for women who have been at the mercy of their husbands, fathers, brothers and drivers to move around.

"While we welcome the fact that women can finally get behind the wheel, we should not forget that many people are still behind bars for their work in fighting for women's rights in Saudi Arabia", Samah Hadid, Amnesty's Middle East campaigns director, said in a statement.

As for male drivers on the road, "they were really supportive and cheering and smiling", she said.

Saudi Arabia eased into its first commuter day with women on the roads without a hitch on Sunday. "I like to be a princess with someone opening the auto door for me and driving me anywhere".

The European soccer body alleges beoutQ is illegally using content from Qatari-based beIN Sports network, which holds regional rights but is blocked in Saudi Arabia under a boycott of Qatar by Riyadh and Arab allies over Doha's alleged support of terrorism, which the Qataris deny.

"Saudi Arabia's crown prince wants it both ways: to be lauded as a reformer on the world stage, and to ensure his status as the only reformer at home".

For some, though, the jubilation Sunday at realizing a hard-won freedom will be tempered by the arrests last month of a number of Saudi rights activists, including some who have played a prominent role in the fight for women's right to drive.

Official statistics show that women make up the overwhelming majority of job seekers in Saudi Arabia and that around 34 percent of Saudis seeking employment are between 25 and 29 years old.

Young women were spotted present in various exhibits where traffic officials instructed them on handlings of a vehicle.

Riyadh resident Amr al-Ardi said the women in his family would wait to see how the system works before they start driving.

Saudi Samar Al-Moqren drives her auto through the streets of the Saudi capital Riyadh for the first time just after midnight, June 24, 2018, when the law allowing women to drive took effect.

Not all women are driving at once, though. Until today many Saudi women had been forced to employ male drivers, which eats into their income while prohibiting others from owning cars. And the classes can be costly, running several hundred dollars.

At the Bikers Skills Institute, General Manager Wael bin Huraib says more than 80 women have registered to take the course and five have completed it since he opened it up to females three months ago.

Human Rights Watch last week said the kingdom has arrested two more women activists - Nouf Abdelaziz and Mayaa al-Zahrani, in what it denounced as an "unrelenting crackdown".

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Kyrgios Queen's quest ends, Wimbledon next
Jun 25, 2018 - 03:47
The heat was sweltering and in the next game there was a stoppage as a member of the crowd required help from the medical team. Cilic was on the verge of a third loss in the Queen's final when Djokovic held a match point in the second set.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Luis Suarez scores for Uruguay
Jun 25, 2018 - 01:39
In their last 10 World Cup games, Saudi Arabia have failed to score in eight matches. This match of Group A in the Steve Arena is very important for both the teams.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Supreme Court ruling may boost Virginia tax income by $300M
Jun 24, 2018 - 23:44
Wayfair case, overturning the long-standing rule that states could not tax businesses or sellers outside of that state's borders. Some big-time retailers, such as Wal-Mart, already collect sales taxes because they have stores in all 50 states.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Supreme Court rules in favor of online sales tax
Jun 24, 2018 - 23:41
The court corrected a fundamental unfairness in sales tax collections, and state legislators have an obligation to follow up. Hart Posen an associate professor at the Wisconsin School of Business thinks that the decision can be a boon for Amazon.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Japan halts missile drills after Trump-Kim summit
Jun 24, 2018 - 21:32
About 7,700 US military personnel still remain unaccounted for from the 1950-53 Korean War , US military data show. Also, on Saturday, the US military began moving caskets to North Korea for the recovery of some remains, the U.N.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top An *Interview* With Blue, A Chill Velociraptor From ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’
Jun 23, 2018 - 13:33
What did Chris Pratt , Bryce Dallas Howard , Jeff Goldblum , Justice Smith , Daniella Pineda , and director J.A. The Park is gone, but the money is still there for the Jurassic franchise.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Trump scraps Obama policy on protecting oceans, Great Lakes
Jun 23, 2018 - 12:00
The directive called on state and federal governments to work together to promote "healthy ocean ecosystems". But he said federal agencies could participate in regional partnerships formed by states.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top ‘This is Nigeria’ - Super Eagles’ victory over Iceland sends Twitter into frenzy
Jun 23, 2018 - 11:01
Wilfred Ndidi forced Hannes Halldorsson into a fine fingertip save with a wickedly dipping shot from distance in the 58th minute. The tiny European nation did ride their luck, however, with Messi missing a second-half penalty.

First lady's 'don't care' jacket is a gift to memers online
Jun 23, 2018 - 06:15
But it wasn't long before the first lady's controversial jacket threatened to overshadow the entire goodwill junket to the border. But an army green jacket she wore boarding her plane to Texas at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland sent a very different message.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Trump huddles with Republicans as backlash over family separations intensifies
Jun 23, 2018 - 04:53
Rick Scott, who is challenging Democratic Sen. "There are workable alternatives", president Richard Cohen said in a statement. Many politicians say Mr Trump could simply reverse the administration's "zero-tolerance" policy and keep families together.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Trump relents, issues order to stop separation of illegal families
Jun 23, 2018 - 04:30
Trump's executive order requires the Pentagon to make military bases near the border available to detain immigrant families. As deflated members of his staff either rush for the exits or distance themselves from his whims, Trump is largely alone.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top European Union slaps revenge tariffs on USA as trade war erupts
Jun 22, 2018 - 18:57
The EU has also filed a case contesting the legality of the USA tariffs with the World Trade Organization. On Thursday, Indian imposed tariffs on 29 United States goods worth $ 238 million as a countermeasure.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Opec debating compromise output boost, say sources, Business News & Top Stories
Jun 22, 2018 - 16:14
The market was expecting an increase of around 1-1.5 million barrels. Well, we have to wait until the price reaches the 50 SMA, don't we?

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Theresa May makes Conservative MPs a Brexit offer they can't decipher
Jun 22, 2018 - 12:34
Theresa May would have to get approval from Parliament before beginning negotiations on the UK's future relationship with the EU. He also warned that Britain "would not be ready in time" for Brexit and called for a referendum on the terms of the final deal.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Centre wants terrorism to end in Kashmir: Rajnath Singh
Jun 22, 2018 - 11:16
We are happy that it is over as this alliance caused agony and suffering to the people of the state, especially in the Valley. Earlier, Vohra issued a proclamation regarding the imposition of Governor's rule under Section 92 of the state Constitution.