Protest against driving laws -- Saudi Arabia
9.38am: It's still early but there are already a few reports of women taking to the roads in Saudi Arabia, writes Brian Whitaker.
In what seems to have been a nighttime excursion before the official start, @FouzAbd tweeted:
Saudi protest by Self
Only mom is driving and I don't see any other women driving. But ppl r not harassing us at all. Drove all the way from our Uni where we celebrated my sister's graduation to our house. And then went out again and driving in Al Sahafa
On our way back home and no one harassed us at all. Even though some men stared at us.
Meanwhile, Ana3rabeya tweeted:
Some Saudi Men are considering going out for a drive while wearing women's Abayas to confuse the police!
It may be difficult to judge the success or otherwise of today's action, since it's not intended as a mass demonstration in a single place -- more a case of individuals asserting their rights here and there.
The authorities will probably claim there has been little response. My guess is that they will arrest a few women, but not so many as to imply that there has been large-scale defiance of the rules.
The important thing to keep in mind, though, is that this has never been intended as a one-off one-day protest. The idea is that from today, women who have international licenses will drive whenever they wish to do so.
The real measure of success will be how long it takes the authorities to cave in and start issuing Saudi driving licenses to women.
Saudi Arabia has banned all kinds of rallies and gatherings, as anti-government protests demanding democratic change.
Protests and public displays of dissent are forbidden in Saudi Arabia. The government has become increasingly nervous about the protests that have taken the Arab world by storm, toppling the Egyptian and Tunisian presidents.