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Photos shared on social media showed Saudi police officers giving out flower bouquets and cards with words of encouragement emblazoned on them to women drivers.

Saudi prince Alwaleed bin Talal has shared a video of his daughter driving as women celebrate the lifting of a ban allowing them to drive for the first time. Since Prince Mohammed assumed power, Saudi Arabia has already lifted bans on women attending movies and music concerts with men.

"I'm speechless. I'm so excited it's actually happening", said Hessah al-Ajaji, who drove her family's Lexus down the capital's busy Tahlia Street after midnight.

A Saudi woman celebrates as she drives her vehicle in her neighborhood, in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia, June 24, 2018.

Majdooleen al-Ateeq, 23, drove across Riyadh for the first time in her black Lexus.

"Then I ask my husband about the specs so he takes a look at it to see what it's like and if it's durable", she said. Under the guardianship system, women can not travel overseas, work, marry or have medical procedures without the consent of a male guardian, usually their closest male relative.

But despite this shift, Saudi women are still held up by restrictive guardianship laws where men in their lives must give approval before they get basic things such as renting a house.

Twitter exploded with videos of Saudi women driving for the very first time, highlighting their experiences with the hashtag #saudiwomendriving. This move was announced previous year in September, as part of the Kingdom's effort to remove the country's reputation of repressing women's rights.

Just last month, the pendulum appeared to swing away from the latter when several prominent women's rights activists who were at the forefront of calls to lift the driving ban were arrested. "And we have more than 700 already graduated and got their license", said Amel Attia from Emirates Driving Institute, who set up SDS.

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Referring to Saudi Arabia's older generations, Mohammed continues, "Some people are more conservative in their views of the changes, and want to see how all of this will unfold". "It's liberating", one woman told Al-Arabiya on Sunday.

With unequivocal state-backed support for the change, more Saudis are openly embracing the move as long overdue.

"There will be more cars on the road", Khalid Al-Falih said in Vienna, where he was attending an OPEC meeting.

The lifting of the ban is also creating opportunities for women to make money from driving.

In April 2017 King Salman ordered that all government agencies should allow women to access government services without a male guardian's consent unless required by existing regulations. Some have since been temporarily released.

30 November 2014: Activists Loujain al-Hathloul and Maysaa al-Amoudi are detained for 73 days an charged with terrorism-related crimes after attempting to drive into Saudi Arabia from the United Arab Emirates. The government has accused them of national security crimes, including working with "foreign entities" to harm the interests of the kingdom.

She said: "Honestly I'm so happy about this decision. It's the efforts of everyone, little drops of sweat", Farahat said.

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

Saudia Arabia's transformation, including allowing women greater freedoms and equality, may be essential to its economy. The ministry declined to disclose how many women had received licenses so far, saying the process is still in the early stages. The classes also cost several hundred dollars, far more than what men now pay.


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