Saudi Arabia women petition for right to drive
By Rizwan Khatik - Mon Jun 18, 1:37 pm
CAIRO: The battle over a woman’s right to drive in Saudi Arabia increased this week as women in the ultra-conservative Gulf Kingdom announced they will petition King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz on Sunday for the right to drive in the country.
It is also the first anniversary of the beginning of the Women2Drive campaign that sparked fears from the government that women would demand greater rights.
The petition asks for “the possibility for women to get a driving license in nearby countries and allowing them to start driving.”
“Our initiative is not aimed at violating laws. We only want to enjoy the right to drive like all women over the world,” says the petition, signed by Manal al-Sherif, who in 2011 launched an Internet campaign encouraging Saudi women to challenge the driving ban.
She was arrested and sentenced to lashings by the government for driving in the country. Although she was pardoned, she has quickly become a symbol of Saudi women’s empowerment as she continues to demand greater rights.
The petition also asks the monarch to open driving schools in Saudi Arabia that can in future issue licenses to women. It thanked Aziz for giving women the right to vote in municipal elections starting in 2015.