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Hundreds of Protesters Camp in Muscat

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TEHRAN, March 3 (ICANA) – Hundreds of Omani anti-government protesters have camped outside the Consultative Council in the capital Muscat to demand political reform and better life conditions.
Thursday, March 03, 2011 11:48:44 AM
Hundreds of Protesters Camp in Muscat

They were carrying placards reading, “We want jobs” and “We want freedom of press, AFP reported on Wednesday.

The protesters also called for bringing to justice those responsible for the deaths of demonstrators in the northern town of Sohar.

At least six people were killed in Sohar on Sunday after police opened fire on the anti-government demonstrators.

Also on Tuesday, Omani forces used tanks to disperse the protesters blocking roads spanning the industrial city of Sohar and the capital Muscat.

The army forces say they succeeded in driving away the protesters and the operation ended peacefully.

Omani protesters are demanding political reforms, jobs and salary increases as well as trial of ministers accused of corruption in the Persian Gulf sultanate, which lies on the strategic Strait of Hormuz, a busy oil-shipping route.

Omani protesters also want the all-appointed advisory council to be transformed into a full-fledged parliament.

On Sunday, Oman's ruler Sultan Qaboos bin Said promised 50,000 jobs and unemployment benefits worth USD 390 a month. He also promised to study widening the power of the quasi-parliamentary body.

Qaboos has been ruling Oman for over 40 years and has banned all political parties in the small Persian Gulf country.

In recent weeks, anti-government movements have been spreading across the Arab countries.

Last month in Tunisia, nationwide outrage at the government's suppressive policies sparked a massive revolution that ended the 23-year-long rule of its despotic President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and forced him to flee to Saudi Arabia.

On February 11, millions-strong nationwide revolution in Egypt, which started on January 25, ended the three-decade-long rule of US-backed dictator Hosni Mubarak.

Other anti-government uprisings have also flourished in Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, Algeria, Jordan and Oman, as more Arab countries are expected to stage similar popular revolts.

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