Footage Shows Moment When First Saudi Woman Receives Driver's License

Saudi Arabia begins issuing driving licenses to women

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Saudi Arabia on Monday began issuing its first driving licences to women in decades, authorities said, just weeks before the historic lifting of the conservative kingdom's ban on female motorists.

In September, King Salman issued the royal decree giving women permission to drive in Saudi Arabia.

While many Saudis are waiting to see this new scene on Saudi roads and which has been long awaited by women, many are preparing for this day in anticipation, while others are taking driving lessons in order to obtain licenses.

The issuance of license comes as part of a series of measures taken by the department in preparation for the implementation of the decision to allow women to drive. After years of protests by local women activists and pressure by worldwide human rights groups, however, the country announced last year it would be lifting the decades-long ban. General Mohammed al-Bassami of the traffic department previously released a statement on May 8 that indicated women would be allowed to start driving on June 24.

Saudi Arabia is the only country that prohibits women from driving.

Almost 50 women took part in that first driving protest 28 years ago.

Rights groups earlier reported arrests of at least 11 people last month, mostly identified as women campaigners for the right to drive and to end the conservative Islamic country's male guardianship system.

Saudi Arabia is the only nation in the world that does not permit women to drive.

"Driving for women is not just about driving a vehicle; it enhances strength of character, self-confidence, and decision-making skills", she said in a statement issued by the government.

Loujain Alhathloul and the other detained activists have been released temporarily, according to a report on Sunday by CNN, and it is unclear at this time if the Saudi authorities will further pursue the charges, which include working against the Kingdom with foreign powers.

The arrests anxious women's rights activists and those monitoring the social reform agenda of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

State-backed media accused the detainees of betraying their country and acting as "agents of embassies".

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