The women's right coalition said the religious police, comprised of
Wahabi seminary students, were arresting women drivers in Jedda, the
kingdom's second largest city, Middle East Newsline reported. They said the police were checking cars and
forcing women drivers and passengers to sign a pledge that they would not
"On the contrary, these arrests will encourage more women to get behind
the wheel in direct defiance of this ridiculous abuse of our most basic
human rights," the coalition said.
The sources said the religious police have formed a network of informers
to monitor women drivers. They said at least five women drivers were
arrested in Jedda and later released.
On June 17, Saudi women launched their campaign to shatter the driving
ban. In all, 42 women drove vehicles around the Gulf Cooperation Council
kingdom in a move endorsed by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and
European Union leaders.
The Saudi government has pledged to increase supervision on the
religious police, accused of accosting and arresting married couples. But
over the last two years, officials said the Interior Ministry was doubling
the size of the religious police to 10,000 officers.
"This will not scare us," Saudi women's rights activist Eman Al Nafjan said.