2011-02-27 Oman: Clashes between protesters and security forces rock Arab world's oldest independent state. #Sohar #Oman

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Sunday, February 27

Arab disenfranchisement with Gulf rulers has spread to a strategic oil tanker route located through the Straight of Hormouz where about 40 per cent of the world’s oil tanker traffic passes.

The formerly tranquil Gulf Arab State of Oman saw pro-democracy demonstrators and riot police embattled in a deadly clash February 26 with at least two people reported killed and many wounded in the industrial port town of Sohar.

Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets on 2,000 plus anti-government demonstrators during a second day of protests to demand political reforms. Two demonstrators were killed during the attempt to storm a police station that was set on fire along with government buildings, shops and cars. One other person is said to be in critical condition with unconfirmed reports riot police were also injured. Troops were deployed in the area but did not intervene.

February 26 unrest in Sohar, Oman by alwannews.com

Unsatisfied with Omani ruler Sultan Qaboos bin Said’s recent efforts to ease tensions by reshuffling his cabinet “in the public interest”, youth and those unhappy with the status quo want government to combat corruption, deal with the rising cost of living, raise salaries and allow for greater media freedoms.

The state-controlled Oman News Agency called the Sohar demonstration “riots” by subversive groups and vandals resulting in destruction of public and private property.

(Image Source: February 26 protest in #Sohar Roundabout #Oman by @Maithams)


Just hours after the Sohar violence, Qaboos ordered the creation of 50,000 jobs for citizens of Oman and a monthly allowance for registered job seekers. Earlier in February, national workers in the private sector saw salary increases of 43 per cent to $520 per month.

Sultan Qaboos has ruled Oman for 40 years after deposing his father in a 1970 palace coup. He exercises absolute power. Political parties are banned in Oman. The Gulf Arab State is home to 2.7 million people, 70 per cent of whom are nationals. There is no official unemployment rate.

Oil rich Oman is a non-OPEC oil exporter with strong military ties to the U.S.

Unrest in Oman is unusual, however, since Friday, protesters in the southern town of Salalah have camped out near the office of a provincial governor. Last week in the capital Muscat, about 300 protested for greater democracy and jobs.

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