First women arrested for defying Saudi driving ban
Story from Gulf News, June 29, 2011
Saudi Arabian police arrested five women for driving yesterday for the first time since dozens of women began testing the ban on driving on June 17, according to reports by local Saudi media.
In one incident, first reported on Facebook by Saudi journalist Jamal Banoon, four young women driving in the Dorat Al Aroos area of Jeddah were arrested by agents of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, Saudi Arabia’s religious police.
The women were taken to a criminal investigations unit.
In a second incident that night a woman driving in downtown Jeddah was suddenly surrounded by four police cars and taken into custody for driving.
Her car was confiscated, according to the conservative Saudi news site SABQ. It is not clear whether or not the five women are still in detention, and there have been no reports of their whereabouts since.
The incidents mark a significant departure from the hands-off approach Saudi police have taken since women’s rights activists launched a nationwide right-to-drive campaign on June 17.