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Monday, February 28, 2011

Add Oman to the list

You can add Oman to the list of countries where there are protests against an autocratic regime.
Peaceful protests, demanding higher wages, more jobs and an end to corruption, among other things, have spread to other parts of Oman since Friday, according to reports reaching here.

A woman blogger, who writes Random Ramblings about Life in Salalah under the name of Dhofari Gucci, has written: "Protesters gathered outside the Governor's office after Friday prayers and evidently they have not moved and won't until their demands have been fulfilled. I sent my brother to investigate. They've been chanting ‘People want an end to corruption'."

According to another witnesses, life is going on as usual in the other parts of this southern town, where Lulu Hypermarket opened their 87th outlet and the National Geographic exhibition was also launched.

"We hardly felt protests are being held in town," a Muscat resident who is in Salalah said over the phone on the condition of anonymity.

The peaceful protests, however, are spreading to other towns as well. Reports coming in say that there were peaceful protests in Shinaz as well as Sohar.

The first of the protests was held in Muscat on January 17 followed by another at the Muscat ministerial enclave on February 18 - named Green March - during which the protesters gave a message for the country's monarch Sultan Qaboos Bin Saeed.

The government last week announced that the message has reached the country's leader. There were no protests reported in Muscat after that.

However, on Saturday, people, mostly youth, held peaceful marchs in Shinaz, Sohar and Salalah. The demands made through banners and slogans are: 1) An end to corruption in the government; 2) More jobs for people in need; 3) increase in salaries for the poor, widows and divorced women; 4) Lowering prices; 5) An end to financial and administrative wasta (influence) in the government and private sector.

The protests have been peaceful and the security agencies have not interfered.
This is tame compared to some of the other protests.

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