‘No Woman, No Drive': Satire on Saudi Arabia driving ban gets 3m YouTube views
No Woman, No Drive, a Saudi tongue-in-cheek version of Bob Marley classic No Woman, No Cry has garnered more than three million views on YouTube.
The video has turned comedian Hesham Faqeeh into an international internet sensation for his take on Saudi Arabia’s ban on driving for women.
Women were encouraged to get behind the wheel on Saturday as part of a campaign to defy the ban.
The interior ministry said on Monday that only security officers have the right to apprehend women driving cars in Saudi Arabia.
“Security officials reject the intervention of Mohtasibeen (voluntary religious men) in chasing women driving cars,” Fawaz Al Miman, an assistant spokesperson for the Riyadh police said.
“Security officers have the right to apprehend women drivers, book them for the violation and contact their families for the pledge not to drive again. No one else without an official capacity can interfere in the process,” he said, quoted by local Arabic daily Al Eqtisadiya on Monday.
The Mohtasibeen (plural for Mohtasib) have often tried to impose their conservative views on events in Saudi Arabia, citing the need to help promote virtue and prevent vice. However, their actions at times clashed with formal procedures by government officials.
Under the interior ministry’s directives, traffic policemen were not allowed to chase any woman driver in case she refused to stop. They could only note the car licence plate that the authorities would use to summon the driver.
Several Saudis over the weekend said that they would volunteer their efforts to stop women from driving on Saturday in response to a campaign to promote the right of women in Saudi Arabia to drive.
Police said that 12 women were apprehended on Saturday, five in the capital Riyadh, five in the Eastern Province and two in Jeddah. They were asked to sign a pledge not to sit behind the steering wheel again.
No cases were reported the following day on Sunday, the police said.
The issue has waded into heated arguments, mainly over the social and print media, between supporters and opponents of women’s right to drive.