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Saudi Women Renew Fight To Lift Driving Ban

A Saudi student's online call to challenge once again the ban on women driving has gone viral.
Female driver Azza Al Shmasani alights from her car after driving in defiance of the ban in Riyadh June 22, 2011. Saudi Arabia has no formal ban on women driving. But as citizens must use only Saudi-issued licences in the country, and as these are issued only to men, women drivers are anathema. An outcry at the segregation, which contributes to the general cloistering of Saudi women, has been fuelled by social media interest in two would-be female motorists arrested in May.REUTERS/Fahad Shadeed   (SAUDI ARA

Speaking before a plain orange background, a young woman started talking in a soft voice. “Hello,” she said. “This is a new campaign to gain our right to drive cars.”

That was Lujain al-Hathloul, a Saudi student in Canada who has become an online celebrity after posting a series of videos criticizing restrictions on women in the conservative kingdom. Wearing a short haircut and dressed in a black blazer over a purple top, Hathloul called on her fellow countrywomen to take to the streets on Oct. 26 to challenge the ban on driving. Her call quickly went viral, receiving more than 600,000 views in less than four days after it was posted on the video-sharing site Keek on Sept. 20.

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