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Saudi women drivers protest ban

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At least 16 Saudi women have received fines for taking the wheel on a day set by activists to defy the kingdom's traditional ban on female driving.

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Still pictures from videos posted by three Saudi women drivers to YouTube and announced on the protest twitter account @oct26driving. The woman on the right even drove through a toll booth in clear sight of the male workers there.

Saudi women fined for defying driving ban

Riyadh (AFP) — At least 16 Saudi women have received fines for taking the wheel on a day set by activists to defy the kingdom's traditional ban on female driving, police and reports said Sunday.

Only a few women braved official threats of punishment and drove on Saturday in response to an online campaign headlined "Women's driving is a choice."

"Police stopped six women driving in Riyadh, and fined them 300 riyals ($80) each," said the capital's police deputy spokesman, Colonel Fawaz al-Miman.

Each of the women, along with her male guardian – who could be a father, husband, brother, uncle, or grandson – had to "sign a pledge to respect the kingdom's laws," Miman told AFP.

In Jeddah, police also fined two women for driving, according to the Red Sea city's police spokesman, Nawaf al-Bouq.

Saudi newspapers, meanwhile, reported that six women were stopped by police in Eastern Province, and at least two others were stopped in other parts of the kingdom.

A dozen Saudi women posted videos on the Twitter account of the campaign, @oct26driving, showing themselves driving.

Activists had originally issued a call on social media networks for women across the kingdom to drive their cars on Saturday to challenge the ban.

Some say they received telephone calls from the interior ministry asking them to promise they would not drive on Saturday.

On Wednesday, the ministry said it would act against anyone who attempts to "disturb public peace" by congregating or marching "under the pretext of an alleged day of female driving."

The next day ministry spokesman General Mansur al-Turki told AFP: "It is known that women in Saudi are banned from driving and laws will be applied against violators and those who demonstrate in support" of this cause.

Activists say Saturday was chosen as a "symbolic" date as part of efforts first launched more than a decade ago to press for the right to drive.

The absolute monarchy is the only country in the world where women are barred from driving. Public gatherings are officially banned.

A video of a Saudi woman driving around her neighbourhood and explaining why she drives:

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Vocabulary:

absolute monarchy : a system in which a king or queen has unlimited powers - ระบอบสมบูรณาญาสิทธิราช

activist : someone who takes part in activities that are intended to achieve political or social change, especially someone who is a member of an organisation - นักกิจกรรม

alleged (verb): claimed to be something - อ้าง

ban : an official statement ordering people not to do, sell or use something - การห้าม

bar : to officially not allow someone to do something or go somewhere - ห้าม

brave : to deal with an unpleasant or difficult situation in order to achieve something - กล้าที่จะเผชิญกับ

campaign : a series of actions intended to produce political or social change - การรณรงค์

capital : the most important town or city of a country, usually where the central government operates from - เมืองหลวง

cause : movement; an aim, idea, or organisation that you support or work for - วัตถุประสงค์ อุดมการณ์

challenge : to invite someone to do something difficult or risky, such as to compete or fight; question whether something is true, accurate, or legal - ท้า คัดค้าน

congregate : to come together in a group - รวมกัน

decade : a period of ten years - ทศวรรษ

defy : to refuse to obey or accept someone or something - ฝ่าฝืน,ไม่เชื่อฟัง, เป็นปฏิปักษ์ต่อ

demonstrate : to protest against something, especially with a large group of people - ชุมนุมประท้วง

disturb : to interrupt somebody or cause them to stop when they are trying to work, sleep, etc - รบกวน

female : being a woman or a girl - สตรี, ผู้หญิง, เพศหญิ

fine : an amount of money that you have to pay because you have broken the law - ค่าปรับ

gathering : an occasion when many people come together as a group - การรวมตัว, การประชุม

grandson (noun): a son of your son or daughter - หลานชาย

guardian : someone who protects something - ผู้คุ้มครอง, ผู้พิทักษ์, ผู้คุ้มกัน

headline (verb): to use as the title, especially of a story that is printed in large letters - พาดหัว

in response to : in reaction to something that has happened or been said - ตาม

interior ministry (noun): a ministry with responsibility a wide variety of local government agencies and functions, e.g., the police, local administrations, internal security, citizenship, disaster management, land management, issuing national identity cards and public works, etc. - กระทรวงมหาดไทย

issue : to officially announce or give out - ออก, ออกประกาศ, ออกคำสั่ง

launch (verb): to start something - เริ่มต้น, เปิดโครงการ, เริ่มทำ

male : being a man or a boy - ผู้ชาย

meanwhile : at the same time - ในเวลาเดียวกัน

network : a large system of connected parts, organisations, people, etc. - เครือข่าย

pledge : a serious promise - คำมั่้นสัญญา

pretext : a false reason that you give for doing something, usually something bad, in order to hide the real reason; an excuse - ข้ออ้าง, ข้อแก้ตัว

protest : a strong complaint or disagreement - การประท้วง

respect : to accept the importance of something; to act according to a rule or law - เคารพ

right : something that you are morally or legally allowed to do or have - สิทธิ

sight (noun): the area or distance within which somebody can see or something can be seen - ขอบข่ายในการเห็น, ทิวทัศน์

social media : the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into an interactive dialogue, e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc. - เครือข่ายสังคมออนไลน์

still : not moving - นิ่ง

symbolic : representing something important, but in this case, not the real thing - เป็นสัญญาณ เป็นสัญลักษณ์

take the wheel (verb): to drive a vehicle - ขับรถ

threat : saying that you might do something bad or harmful, especially in order to make someone do something - การขู่เข็ญ การคุกคาม ทำให้กลัว

toll (noun): the amount of money that a person must pay to travel on a special road or "tollway". -

traditional (adj): of a custom, a way of life or a way of doing things that has not changed for a long time - เป็นประเพณี, ตามธรรมเนียม, ตามที่ปฏิบัติกันมา

uncle : the brother of your mother or father; the husband of your aunt - ลุง, อาผู้ชาย, น้าผู้ชาย

violator : a person who goes against or refuse to obey a law, an agreement, etc. - ผู้ฝ่าฝืน, ผู้ละเมิดกฎ

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