Arab Revolutionary Juggernaut Rolls into Oman, 2 Killed
The Arab revolutionary juggernaut continues to roll through the Middle East, striking the normally quiet oil-rich country of Oman, where police killed two protesters.
Demonstrations continued for the third day Monday, after a peaceful protests in the country, located on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, turned violent two days ago.
Police fired rubber bullets at demonstrators, who then set on fire several government buildings, including a police station.
In response, Oman’s Sultan Qaboos bin Said ordered the creation of 50,000 jobs and a grant of nearly $400 a month for every person who seeks employment.
However, violence has escalated as demonstrators demand government reform in the country, where political parties are banned. They torched an official government residence, homes and a supermarket.
Oman, located on the Arabian Peninsula, shares with Iran control of the Strait of Hormuz, at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, where nearly half of the world’s oil tankers sail.
Unrest is rare in Oman, which is considered ne of the more tranquil Moslem countries. Journalist Jackie Spinner, who was in the city of Sohar where the protests broke out, told Al Jazeera, “Most of the Omanis that I've talked to have said they haven't seen anything like this in the last four decades ... they have not seen this level of anger, or any widespread demonstrations against the government, in the past 40 years.”
Middle East observers – and investors – are keeping a sharp eye on Saudi Arabia, where “Day of Rage” protests are scheduled on March 11 and March 20 to demand reforms.