On the stroke of midnight local period on Sunday, extraordinary scenes unfolded on the roads of Saudi Persia.
Ladies were seen behind the tires of cars and astride motorbikes — driving on the country’ h streets for the first time in decades, pursuing the Islamic kingdom’ s decision in order to lift the world’ s just ban on female drivers.
People cheered as women motorists went by, and male drivers yelled words of support and provided thumbs-ups through car windows. Pictures shared on social media showed Saudi police officers giving out flower bouquets plus cards with words of support emblazoned on them to women motorists.
“ I always knew this day would come. However it came fast. Sudden, ” speak show host Samar Almogren told The Protector as she went across the capital Riyadh. “ Personally i think free like a bird. ”
Other females used similar language to describe their particular maiden driving experiences. “ It’ s liberating, ” one woman told Al-Arabiya on Sunday.
“ Personally i think happy, relieved, I feel like I’ m free, ” an oncologist in Jeddah enthused, according to CNN , as she drove her spouse and children around the city.
Saudi Arabian officials announced last year they will be overturning the nation’ h longstanding ban on women motorists — part of a series of reforms forced by Crown Prince Mohammed rubbish bin Salman aimed at modernizing the Arab state . It was announced in May that the prohibit would officially lift on June twenty-four .
The ban’ s reversal, nevertheless , has coincided with a recent crackdown upon women’ s rights activists in the country. According to human legal rights groups, more than a dozen activists have been arrested since May, which includes Loujain al-Hathloul, a prominent campaigner against the driving ban. Amnesty International stated on Friday that will al-Hathloul, as well as at least seven some other activists, are currently behind bars dealing with lengthy prison sentences.
“ While we all welcome the fact that women can lastly get behind the wheel, we should not forget that lots of people are still behind bars for his or her work in fighting for women’ ersus rights in Saudi Arabia, ” Samah Hadid, Amnesty’ s Center East campaigns director, said within a statement.
Hadid added that while the raising of the ban “ is a long-overdue small step in the right direction, [it] must now be accompanied by reforms to end a whole range of discriminatory laws and practices, ” such as the country’ s restrictive guardianship laws that require women to get the consent associated with male guardians for a variety of simple needs.
Saudi Persia began issuing generating licenses to women in early 06. By 2020, 3 million women in Saudi Persia could receive licenses, according to The Protector, citing estimates by the consultancy company PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Social media was abuzz on Weekend with images and videos of women getting when driving in Saudi Arabia for the first time. Scroll down to see a sampling of them.