In Saudi Arabia, two women who defied a driving ban were briefly detained. Despite that, one of the women says she will continue her campaign to have the law overturned.
With her face covered, you can’t see the boldness in her eyes. Her appearance is traditional, conservative; her actions are anything but.
«Everything’s normal», women’s rights activist Aziza al-Yousef said. «Nobody to the left or right of me seems to have a problem with a woman driving a car.»
But this being Saudi Arabia, it didn’t take long for the police to pull her over. She says that she and her female passenger were detained for close to three hours.
«Aziza, why did you decide to go driving that day?» reporter Mohammed Jamjoom said.
«Ah, well, why not?» al-Yousef said. «Why not?»
No longer hidden behind that veil, her daring is completely apparent.
«We are sick and tired of waiting to be given our rights,» al-Yousef said. «It’s about time to take our rights.»
Aziza’s voice has been one of the loudest, demanding women in her homeland finally be given the right to drive.
Since October, dozens of Saudi females have taken to the streets in a remarkable display of civil disobedience.
Aziza tells me via Skype there was nothing extraordinary in the errands she had to run on Friday, that there was no driver available to take her. Buying bananas all seemed fine.
«And also, I stopped to fill up gasoline,» al-Yousef said. «The guy in gasoline station interact with me very normally, he asked me what kind of gasoline I want.»
But the excursion came to an end when she was taken to a Riyadh police station.
Aziza says she was only released after her husband signed a pledge stating she wouldn’t drive again.
«I don’t think I will stop driving ever,» al-Yousef said. «But yes, there is a chance that any woman, any woman that is asking for her rights, not only driving, will face jail, because there is no clear laws that we can count on.»
The lack of clarity is far more difficult to navigate than the clogged roads. Still, Aziza’s decision is final. She’ll continue pushing the envelope by pressing the gas pedal.