Omani protests intensify
One of the stereotypes of Omanis and Emiratis is that Omanis are gentle and easygoing, and Emiratis are pushy and demanding -- and that these traits are deeply rooted culturally. I'm thinking of those stereotypes when I read this report from Reuters:
A doctor said six people had been killed in clashes between stone-throwing protesters and police on Sunday in the northern industrial town of Sohar. Oman's health minister said only one person had been killed and 20 wounded.Video of supermarket burning here.
Hundreds of protesters blocked access to an industrial area that includes the port, a refinery and aluminum factory. A port spokeswoman said exports of refined oil products that typically amount to 160,000 barrels per day from the port were unaffected.
"We want to see the benefit of our oil wealth distributed evenly to the population," one protester yelled over a loudhailer near the port. "We want to see a scale-down of expatriates in Oman so more jobs can be created for Omanis."
Peaceful protests also spread to other cities, with hundreds of people demonstrating outside a government ministerial complex in Muscat and at another site in the capital.
The unrest in Sohar, Oman's main industrial center, was a rare outbreak of discontent in the normally sleepy sultanate ruled by Sultan Qaboos bin Said for four decades, and follows a wave of pro-democracy protests across the Arab world.