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Omani police clash with protesters

Posted by on February 28, 2011 0 Comment

Clashes have erupted between Omani police and protesters in the key industrial area of Sohar a day after police crackdown left six people dead in the country.

Police fired tear gas on protesters near Earth Roundabout, a key intersection on the main road to the capital Muscat, on Monday. There were no immediate reports of casualties in the clashes, AFP reported.

The protesters, who are demanding jobs and political reform, have been keeping a vigil at Earth Roundabout for three straight days, defying police efforts to remove them.

They continue to man roadblocks around Sohar despite authorities announcing new benefits for the jobless and more powers for an elected advisory council.

The protesters called for “the trial of all ministers” and “the abolition of all taxes,” including taxes on healthcare and on lands offered by the state.

Some 700 protesters also blocked access to the town’s port — Oman’s second biggest — on Monday, preventing the movement of vehicles in or out. They seized several trucks to block the entrance.

Security officials said on Sunday that police has killed two people and wounded about five others when they fired rubber bullets and tear gas at demonstrators attacking a police station near the roundabout.

Omani Health minister said on Monday that only one person was killed. The protesters, however, gave a higher toll.

Oman’s ruler Sultan Qaboos bin Saeed who has been in power for four decade has tried to quell the unrest. He has announced that 50,000 new jobs would be created for Omani citizens and benefits would be provided for the unemployed.

He also ordered the formation of a ministerial committee, headed by palace affairs minister Sayed Ali bin Hmud al-Busaidi, to put together proposals to meet calls for more powers for Oman’s elected consultative council.

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