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Oman Sacks Two Ministers amid Protests

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TEHRAN, March 5 (ICANA) – Oman's sultan has sacked two ministers following popular protests demanding an end to corruption, political reforms and an elected government.
Saturday, March 05, 2011 9:37:39 PM
Oman Sacks Two Ministers amid Protests

Sultan Qaboos bin Said on Saturday replaced Sayyed Ali bin Hamoud al-Busaidi with Khaled bin Hilal bin Saud al-Busaidi as a minister of the royal court, and General Ali bin Majid al-Maamari with Sultan bin Mohammed al-Numani as a minister in the sultan's office, AFP said.

The move follows fresh protests in the cities of Sohar, Salalah, and the capital, Muscat, on Friday. Around 500 protesters, mostly young men, demanded punishment for corrupt officials, a cabinet reshuffle, and an increase in the minimum wage.

They also called for the all-appointed advisory council to be transformed into a full-fledged parliament.

At least six protesters were killed in clashes with the army during a demonstration on Sunday in the industrial city of Sohar.

On Tuesday, the army deployed armored vehicles and tanks at the Earth Square to disperse protesters, who were using trucks to cut off Oman's second largest port from nearby aluminum and petrochemical factories.

On Wednesday, hundreds of protesters staged a silent rally outside the Shura Council building in Muscat. They were carrying signs that read, “We want jobs” and “We want freedom of the press.”

In a move to appease the protesters, Qaboos has pledged to create 50,000 new jobs for Omani citizens and to allocate 150 Riyals (USD 390) for the unemployed.

Qaboos, who has been ruling Oman for over 40 years, has banned the formation of political parties in the small Persian Gulf country.

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