Women drivers greeted with flowers by Saudi traffic police

Final hours of Saudi Arabia ban on female drivers

It also represents the culmination of years of campaigning by activists who have sometimes been arrested and imprisoned for their efforts.

Adding 1 percentage point to the Saudi participation rate every year might add about 70,000 more women a year to the labour market, according to Daoud.

The end of the driving ban comes alongside Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030-an "ambitious yet achievable blueprint, which expresses our long-term goals and expectations and reflects our country's strengths and capabilities", crown prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud proclaimed online. One of the most talked about reforms in the conservative kingdom is women getting the right to drive, a right they had been denied for a long time.

The 27-year-old mother of two is a driving instructor for women and already had a driver's license from the US, where she'd spent time in Tennessee studying.

One businesswoman said "It's our moment" in an Arab News tweet.

Granting women the right to drive is part of a wider blueprint for the future drawn up by the crown prince.

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Now, some companies had, like Amazon had been remitting the sales tax to us already on internet sales. He continued to write "the rule produces an incentive to avoid physical presence in multiple states".

Earlier this month, the Kingdom began issuing its first driving licences to women in decades, with a handful of women swapping their foreign licences for Saudi ones after undergoing a practical test.

At the stroke of midnight local time on Sunday, extraordinary scenes unfolded on the roads of Saudi Arabia.

However not all women will be in a position to obtain a driving license.

Criticism against women driving has largely been muted since since King Salman announced past year that they would be allowed to drive.

Pushback against this new right is expected by conservative elements in the kingdom, a reality the government is counteracting by announcing harsh punishments for anyone harassing women who are driving.

Women drivers and people throughout Saudi Arabia have been publishing scores of photos and videos to social media following the lifting of the ban.

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But she told CNN last month she had canceled the upcoming trip out of fear for her safety.

For most of her life al-Mari relied on drivers hired by her family, and she and her sisters had to coordinate drop-offs and pick-ups. "We used to live in a police state; if you speak up you go to jail. Character assassination. We are seeing that same pattern again now". A woman's male guardian must give his approval before she can marry or travel.

But much of the initial optimism over his reforms appears to have been dented by a sweeping crackdown on women activists who long opposed the driving ban.

Ultraconservatives in Saudi Arabia had warned against women driving, saying it would lead to sin and expose women to harassment.

Women with licenses from Gulf countries will be required to convert them to Saudi licenses, according to the kingdom's traffic department.

They ensured restaurants and stores closed their doors for daily prayers and waved sticks at women who had their hair or face uncovered, shouting through microphones attached to the tops of their cars as they patrolled the streets.

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