Saudi king decrees women be allowed to drive

Clashes continue in Yemen

Saudi Arabia has announced that it will let women drive. Last month, Saudi police arrested an Arab woman after video circulated showing her driving a vehicle in the Eastern Province.

The U.S. State Department reacted to the news by saying it is a "great step in the right direction".

Activist Manal al-Sherif, who was arrested in 2011 after a driving protest, took to Twitter following the king's announcement to express her relief. The scholars see no reason not to allow women to drive as long as there are legal and regulatory guarantees to avoid the pretexts (that those against women driving had in mind), even if they are unlikely to happen. "This will give independence to women", she added.

A Saudi-led coalition has since joined the fighting in a war that has also caused one of the world's worst humanitarian crises and shows no signs of ending soon.

King Salman and his young son and heir, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, have tested the waters though, allowing women into the country's main stadium in the capital, Riyadh, for national day celebrations this month. "How come it has suddenly become halal (permissible)?" another user wrote.




The decision could also have broad economic impacts, making it possible for women to get to work without a driver but also curbing the popularity of vehicle hailing apps like Uber and Careem.

"The police will need to be trained to interact with women in a way they rarely do in a society where men and women who are not related rarely interact", the report noted.

Saudi Arabia has cautiously begun introducing entertainment, including music concerts, despite opposition from hardliners in the kingdom, where public cinemas and theatre are banned.

"Oh my God, this is unbelievable".

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