Oman protests intensify as Sultan struggles to appease demonstrators
Oman protests come with calls for economic improvements and political reform, but stop short of demanding removal of the Gulf state's Sultan Qaboos.
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“There is no work, and even those with jobs have salaries that aren’t enough,” said protester Mohammed Said in the Financial Times article.Skip to next paragraph
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Oman is the oldest independent Arab nation and together with Iran it controls the Strait of Hormuz at the entrance to the Persian Gulf. Nearly 40 percent of the world’s oil tankers must pass through this waterway, according to the Associated Press. (Editor's note: This paragraph was amended to reflect the correct name for the body of water.)
Oman has enjoyed good relations with the United States and Britain, reports the BBC. Qaboos has ruled the country since wresting control from his father in a bloodless coup in 1970. Although there is a Consultative Assembly, it has no legislative powers and can only act in an advisory role and not all Omani adults can vote to elect members of the assembly. According to a BBC report on the country, his policies have been popular despite the lack of a democratic government.
Many demonstrators have chanted slogans such as, “We want democracy,” calling for the 84-member Assembly to be given legislative power. Political parties and activism are also forbidden in the sultanate, reports Iran's PressTV.
This level of unrest is unprecedented in Oman, which has experienced economic liberalization and modernization in the last couple of decades.
“It's a very sedate, very tranquil, country,” Jackie Spinner, a journalist who was in Sohar during the protests, 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.”