10/29/2013, 00.00
SAUDI ARABIA
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Women caught driving fined and forced to sign pledge to respect Saudi ban on women driving

The authorities report police detained 16 women drivers who participated in the day of protest against the driving ban imposed on them. Yet, on Twitter, a dozen women post videos showing them behind a steering wheel.

Riyadh (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Few women braved official threats to punish those who responded to online campaign 'Women's driving is a choice'.

Of those who did, a total of 16 were fined 300 riyals (US$ 80) for driving on the day activists chose to defy the kingdom's traditional ban on female driving

Each one of them, along with her male guardian (father, husband, brother, uncle, or grandson) had to "sign a pledge to respect the kingdom's laws".

Yet, notwithstanding the authorities' figures, a dozen Saudi women posted videos on the Twitter account of the campaign, @oct26driving, showing themselves driving.

Activists had originally launched their campaign issuing a call on social media for women across the kingdom to drive their cars on Saturday to challenge the ban, the only one of its kind in the world.

Some women said they received phone calls from the Interior Ministry asking them to promise they would not get behind a wheel on Saturday.

On Wednesday, the ministry had also said that it would act against anyone who attempted to "disturb public peace" by congregating or marching "under the pretext of an alleged day of female driving."

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