Sunday, February 27, 2011

Protest in #Oman Widens, Clash with Riot Police

Another Ben Bernank-induced "unrest", this time in Oman.

Omanis started to protest against high cost of living (with soaring cost of food items) and corruption back in January, as Tunisia was getting rid of Ben Ali (who's now in coma in Saudi Arabia).

In the latest protest, at least one protester died.

From Washington Post (2/27/2011):

.... In the Omani town of Sohar, security forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters demanding a greater voice in the country's affairs. At least one person was killed, police officials said, but other reports cited Omani media sources saying at least two died.

Oman's state-run news agency said protesters set cars and houses on fire, burned down a police station and set the governor's residence ablaze in the seaside town, about 120 miles (200 kilometers) northwest of the capital of Muscat.

It marked the first serious confrontation against protesters seeking to open up the ruling system of Sultan Qaboos bin Said, whose nation straddles the southeast corner of the Arabian peninsula and is co-guardian of the Strait of Hormuz. About 40 percent of the world's oil tanker traffic passes through the waterway at the mouth of the Gulf.

....Omanis are not seeking to oust the country's ruler, al-Hanay said. "We just hope he will hear us and make changes," she added, noting that unemployment is high and education is poor in the country, which only has one university.

Sultan Qaboos, who became the Sultan in a palace coup that overthrew his father (it smells a British intrigue) is busy trying to placate people; he has ordered 150 Omani Riyals ($390)/month benefits for unemployed citizens, and he has also ordered 50,000 jobs to be created for the citizens.

(Oman's population is 2.97 million, with unemployment rate at 15%, according to CIA.)

Let there be jobs, declares the Sultan. (Obama must be jealous.)

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