Six killed in Oman, protests continue

February 28th, 2011 - 6:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Muscat, Feb 28 (IANS/AKI) Pro-democracy protesters in Oman blocked roads to a key industrial area, braving rubber bullets and tear gas used by security forces Monday, a day after clashes between demonstrators and government troops that killed six people.According to medical sources, six people were killed in clashes with security forces during pro-democracy protests Sunday.

Earlier reports said two people had died in the kingdom, which has been witnessing unrest following anti-regime uprisings in the Arab world.

Anti-government protests swept through several countries in the Middle East as well as in north Africa in the past couple of months.

Weeks of unrest in Tunisia toppled the 23-year-rule of Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali Jan 14. A similar uprising began Jan 25 in the neighbouring Egypt which led to the fall of three-decade-rule of president Hosni Mubarak Feb 11.

Pro-democracy protesters turned out in Oman Monday and blocked roads to the northern industrial area of Sohar, which houses a refinery port and an aluminium factory, reports said.

According to eye witnesses, security forces opened fire on some 2,000 demonstrators marching to demand jobs and political reform and used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse them.

In Sohar, a main supermarket was burning Monday after being looted, witnesses were quoted as saying in news reports.

Shipments of refined crude from Oman’s port of Sohar are continuing, a port spokeswoman said Monday.

The port ships 160,000 barrels of fuel per day and a range of other oil products from the Sohar refinery, the spokeswoman said.

Oman’s sultan Qaboos bin Said reshuffled his cabinet Saturday, a week after a small protest in the capital Muscat. He has been in power for four decades.

On Sunday, Oman pledged to create 50,000 more jobs and pay unemployment benefits to job seekers.

–IANS/AKI
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