Battle over whether Saudi women should be allowed to drive heats up

Mike Krumboltz
Yahoo News

Yesterday, popular Saudi blogger Eman al-Nafjan posted a video of a woman driving on the streets of Riyadh. The video featured other drivers giving the unidentified female motorist their support.

Women, while not officially banned from driving in Saudi Arabia, are not allowed to apply for driver's licenses.

Today, al-Nafjan hit the road again as a passenger with a female driver. It's unclear if this driver was the same woman who received the thumbs-ups from passing motorists. What is known is that al-Nafjan and the driver were pulled over by police.

Al-Nafjan later tweeted that she and the driver had been released from custody.

Yahoo News spoke with Zaki Safar, founder of the group Saudi Men for Women Driving. He said the only alternative for working women who need to get around by car is to pay a male driver, which can eat into the budget.

"Some of these women make 3,000 Saudi riyals ($800) a month," Safar said. "Yet they were not able to enjoy it all in peace because they were obligated to a chauffeur whose monthly check didn't fall below 2,000 riyals ($533). Can you imagine that? Two-thirds of their salaries going to waste simply because a male chauvinist society frowned upon their inalienable right to drive?"

A widespread demonstration is planned for Oct. 26.