ISTANBUL -- Dozens of women staged the biggest demonstration of its kind
Saturday on the streets of Saudi Arabia, claiming a basic right in the rest of
the world: the right to drive a car.
In one of the most conservative nations in the world, it is an act of
Dozens of Saudi Arabian women posted online videos of themselves behind the
wheel, rebelling against an unwritten rule.
There's no law against them driving, but Saudi authorities have warned
they'll arrest any woman they catch and use force if necessary.
Manal al-Sharif was arrested by Saudi Arabia's religious police for driving
She told CBS News she also lost her job as a result and has received abuse
"You always have to be prepared when you speak up against the odds or
the status quo to pay a price," she said. "Profanity, lies, rumors.
You could lose your job. You could lose everything."
Saudi Arabia is heavily segregated, and women have few legal rights. They're
not allowed to work or travel overseas without the permission of a male relative.
Though some Saudis want their society to modernize, many powerful Islamic
clerics are against it.
One of them recently appeared on TV and claimed that driving would harm
"It's very clear that there's a divide in the government," said
al-Sharif. "You find those people who are pushing towards more empowering
to women, and you find those people who like, no. That will open hell's doors
And on the street, opinion is also divided.
One man said he's against women drivers. "What if they get a flat
tire?" he asked. "What would they do?"
But other Saudi men are showing their support, giving the thumbs-up to women
who dare to take to the open road.