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Thu 6 Oct 2016 12:33 PM

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Saudis hit out over attempted boycott of Uber, Careem

Campaign urged people not to use the apps due to restrictive Saudisation rules

Saudis hit out over attempted boycott of Uber, Careem
(Thomas Oliva/AFP/Getty Images)

A campaign has broken out on social media urging Saudi Arabians to boycott Uber and Careem on the back of new rules preventing expats from using their private cars to provide the service.

It is the latest controversy around the popular ride-hailing apps and comes after the Saudi government announced that expats are not allowed to be directly employed as Uber or Careem drivers.

Under the rules, reported by local media this week, non-Saudi citizens can still work with Uber and Careem via employment with public and private taxi companies.

Saudi Gazette reported on Thursday that a social media campaign with the hashtag #boycottUberandCareem, in Arabic, had gone viral, urging the public to stop using the apps on the back of the new rules.

According to the newspaper, the campaign has failed to persuade the public not to use Uber and Careem, and many people have hit out against the campaign on Twitter.

One user, Nasser, tweeted: “The sons of the country [Saudi nationals] deserve it and I will not boycott.”

Another, Heba Mustafa, said: “I am against this campaign that is urging us to stop using these apps because of Saudisation.

“Saudis are qualified and are working to earn money to sustain them. My experience with Saudi drivers is not only good but I am proud of them.”

A Saudi Uber driver named as Abdulaziz Alotaibi was quoted as saying: “Thank God, it was a good for me and other young men like me to earn money.

“Working with Uber is very beneficial, especially as the company does not insist that we work full time or put in a certain number of hours.”

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