Saudi Arabia Lifts Ban On Female Drivers

Hessah al-Ajaji drives down the busy Tahlia Street after midnight for the first time in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Sunday.
Nariman El-Mofty/AP

Saudi Arabia lifted its widely criticized ban on female drivers on Sunday, sparking jubilation among many women in the country who went out on the roads shortly after the ban was lifted.

Talk show host and writer Samar Almogren told The Guardian, “I always knew this day would come. But it came fast. Sudden. I feel free like a bird.”

Another driver, Hessah al-Ajaji, told the Associated Press, “I’m speechless. I’m so excited it’s actually happening.” She said the male drivers on the road early Sunday morning “were really supportive and cheering and smiling.”

Female drivers and people throughout Saudi Arabia have been publishing scores of photos and videos to social media following the lifting of the ban. Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal posted a video to Twitter, which said, “Finally, First ride with my daughter @Reem_Alwaleed while she’s driving me and my grand daughters in Riyadh.”

He had earlier tweeted in November, “Stop the debate. Time for women to drive.”

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