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Latest update : 2011-06-02

Saudi Arabia: women fight for the right to drive

Women in Saudi Arabia continue their fight for the right to drive. After the uprisings in the Arab world, young Europeans are now also taking to the streets. And a group of Americans have created the world’s largest lip dub.

Saudi Arabia: women fight for the right to drive

Manal Al-Sharif was arrested on the 21st of May for defying the ban on women drivers in Saudi Arabia. The Internet consultant was released on Monday and has issued a statement suggesting she will be abandoning her campaign encouraging women to take part in a ‘drive in’ scheduled for the 17th of June.

After she was arrested, accounts set up on social networks to help coordinate this campaign disappeared from the web. The affair has actually galvanized the movement. The Facebook group set up in support of the 32 year old woman now has over 26 000 members. And activists appear determined to take over where she left off.

Over recent days, a lot of Saudi women have been filming themselves driving a car. The videos have been compiled on this YouTube channel, where women denounce the ban which represents a real headache for those who cannot afford a taxi or a driver. And it appears that a day of action is currently being coordinated via emails and SMS, it is being kept as secret as possible so as to take the local authorities by surprise.

Not everyone in the country supports this campaign, far from it. This video, in which we see a young boy poke fun at the women’s campaign for the right to drive, is enjoying huge success on social networks.

And a Facebook page was set up encouraging men to hit any woman they see daring to drive. The group drew 6 000 members before being removed by the social network for inciting violence.

 

Will European summer follow Arab spring?

Outraged Spaniards have entered their third week of demonstrations to denounce the authorities’ handling of the financial crisis and the harmful effects on the country; the protest movement is gaining ground and has spread to numerous European countries. A large part of the movement is being organized via the web.

Thousands gathered in Paris’ Place de la Bastille on Sunday, demanding political and social reforms and voicing their anger over the country’s financial situation. Repeats of these kinds of rallies are expected over the next few days and activists are coordinating their actions via the Internet. Numerous sites and other social network groups have been set up to try and get citizens involved and circulate information on the different demonstrations being organized across France in the near future.

The protest movement is not at the same level as in Spain but is gradually spreading across the country, as we can see in this interactive map showing the various French towns and cities affected by the wave of protests.

And the Spanish protesters also appear to have inspired the people of Italy and Greece who are also keen to express their dissatisfaction with austerity policies in place in their respective countries. Videos of rallies in cities like Rome, Bologna or Athens are multiplying on sharing sites. And campaigning is also taking place on social networks where European activists can follow events by using the key words "#italianrevolution" and "#greekrevolution".

 

Donate a word

Transform a typing or spelling mistake into a financial donation to help promote access to education throughout the world. Lisa Zeithuber, an Austrian advertising executive came up with this simple idea; each time a web user uses their web browsers spell check feature, they are given the option of making a donation to UNICEF. The project is still in the planning stages and should soon be available, in partnership with Google.

 

Naps around the world

This series of images from French photographer Romain Philippon is called "Inconscience" and is available to view on his web site. There are shots of men, women and also cats taking a nap in unusual positions and places, often at work, and from Vietnam, India, Peru and also Brazil. This project on the universality of sleeping is now looking to be published.

 

Video of the day

Last week, the City of Grand Rapids in the US state of Michigan beat the record for the largest and longest lip dub to date with this video which reprises the Don Mclean hit “American Pie”. 5 000 residents took part in this impressive project which required shutting off most of the town center.

 


 

By Electron Libre

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