Update to this story: http://gendertrender.wordpress.com/2011/05/15/“on-june-17-we-will-drive”-saudi-women-plan-mass-protest-for-freedom-to-drive/

One of the organizers of the June 17th Saudi Women Drive protest has been arrested, and also family members. The Facebook page, Twitter account, and YouTube channel have been deleted by Saudi government authorities. The facebook page had over 13,000 women who committed to participating in the driving protest before it was deleted. The arrested are Manal Al-Sharif, the woman shown driving on the now deleted YouTube video, and her brother.

Saudi police arrested the woman even though there is not actually any law against female drivers. It is on the authority of conservative religious zealots that the ban is in place, even though there is no such prohibition in Islam. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world with such a ban against women.

According to Arab News there is an anti-women driving campaign now started which advises men to beat women who drive: “Among these calls is a campaign demanding all men to beat up women attempting to drive. The men have been told to use their igals (head bands) to strike women behind the wheels in the streets.”

Another campaign was started by men pledging to protect women drivers, including a Facebook page called Protecting Saudi Females on 17th June.

The Saudi Women’s Revolution FB page is still up, and a page showing worldwide support of Manal Alsharif- https://www.facebook.com/pages/We-are-supporting-Manal-Alsharif/229788737035282 

The page states:

“Manal AlSharif
founder of “I will drive starting June 17″
a campaign which encourages and enables saudi women to drive.

She is an inspirational leader that will be remarkable for future generations as the first Saudi woman ever to announce driving a car by herself

Manal Al sharif, is one of hundreds Saudi women who seek their rights, justice, and dignity. She’s now another victim to the oppression of the Saudi police men. Manal in her attempt to challenge women driving ban in Saudi Arabia by the most pacifist way, through an event on facebook, has been arrested twice late at night Sunday, May 22, by the hands of the religious police and without any apparent legal reasons.

We’ve been fighting for so long in a country where human rights are barely applied. We ask for your help and media support to our essential case.

Spread the news and join us.”

Media, Journalists, Bloggers PLEASE COVER THIS STORY WORLDWIDE.
New twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/ManalFree (Pro-tip to Saudi Authorities: YOU ARE NOT GOING TO SHUT THESE WOMEN UP.)
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