Hundreds of women are expected to defy decades of tradition and get behind the wheel in Saudi Arabia on Saturday
Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Interior has warned authorities will crackdown on protesters on both sides of the debate over whether women should be allowed to drive in the kingdom.
Hundreds of women are expected to defy decades of tradition and get behind the wheel in Saudi Arabia on Saturday as part of an organise campaign.
They already have been posting pictures and videos online of themselves driving during the past month to draw attention to the issue.
It is not illegal for women to drive in the kingdom but tradition has long held that they do not and they are often harassed by religious police if they are caught doing so.
In a statement on Wednesday, a ministry spokesman warned that group gatherings and marches including the planned convoy of female drivers on Saturday were illegal – for those on either side of the debate.
“Regulations in Saudi Arabia prohibit any action that disturbs social peace and opens the door for sedition and responds to the illusions of prejudiced intruders with sick dreams,” the spokesman said, as translated from Arabic by Arab News.
“[The ministry] appreciates the concerns expressed by many citizens on the importance of preserving security and stability and avoiding whatever calls for society division and classification.
“Authorities will implement regulations against all
Three female members of the Shoura Council, which advises the government, have recommended women be given the right to drive.
In response, opponents, led by a group of women, have written to the Royal Diwan claiming that allowing women to drive would put the social fabric, family values and security at risk, as well as increase traffic and crime.
Conservatives also argue that it would encourage men and women to mix freely in public, threatening morality.
On Tuesday it was reported that 200 clerics had visited the royal court in Jeddah to make a case against women driving.