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SAUDI ARABIA Saudi women first flouted driving ban in 1990

Sight of women American soldiers driving in the kingdom spurred them to go behind the wheels

By Jumana Al Tamimi, Associate Editor
June 4, 2012

Dubai: For Saudi women, the first attempt to drive cars goes back to November 1990.

That was a few weeks after foreign troops, mainly US soldiers, started arriving in the kingdom in preparation for a possible military action against Iraq after its troops invaded Kuwait.

“Spurred” by the Gulf War, including the sight of women American soldiers driving in the kingdom, some well-educated Saudi women decided to take to the streets on November 6. They drove on several streets before being surrounded by “curious onlookers and stopped by traffic cops”, a report published in the Christian Science Monitor said.

The women were taken into custody and released after their male guardians signed statements that they would not drive again.

The women were suspended from jobs and their passports were confiscated for several months.

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