Arab spring alive in Oman sultanate

This video says about itself:

Army disperses protesters in Oman

1 March 2011

Soldiers have dispersed a small group of demonstrators who had gathered for the fourth day of protests in the port city of Sohar in Oman.

One person was wounded after shots were fired into the air. The crowd dispersed only to regroup at a roundabout near the port.

They had also gathered on Monday and blocked the entrance to the port, which exports 160,000 barrels of refined oil products every day.

Dutch blogger Peter Storm writes today about the Arab spring.

These mainly pro-democracy, pro-workers’ rights movements started in December 2010 in Tunisia and influenced many other movements; not just in Arab countries, but also, eg, the Occupy Wall Street movement. Peter considers that these Arab spring movements have suffered from violent backlashes by governments and the wannabe government ISIS.

However, Peter Storm notes, in Oman, there are signs that the Arab spring is still alive. The sultanate Oman is a dictatorial absolute monarchy. It turns out that does not stop oppositional movements from getting positive results sometimes.

In March 2011, the Dutch government wanted Beatrix, then Queen of the Netherlands, to go to Oman to sell warships to the sultan. Then, workers in Oman started demonstrating for their rights. Queen Beatrix´ state visit to Oman was canceled; however, she still saw the sultan privately for the Dutch/Omani weapons deal.

In January 2012, hundreds of workers protested against non-payment of wages.

In May 2012, Omani workers went on strike against plans to privatize a sea turtle sanctuary.

A month later, Reuters reported:

Oman detains poet, blogger amid growing discontent

Sat Jun 9, 2012 2:07pm EDT

* Poet, blogger among those detained

* Activists say 10 arrested in past two weeks

By Sami Aboudi

DUBAI, June 9 – A poet and a blogger were among 10 people arrested in Oman in the past two weeks in what one source said was a police crackdown on dissent amid rising discontent in the small U.S. ally sitting near key Gulf shipping routes.

Activists said on Saturday that six people arrested on Friday night included blogger Hassan Rukaishi, authors Hammoud al-Rashedi and Nabhan al-Hanashi and poet Hamad al-Kharusi.

This blog reported as well on that wave of arrests.

Now, in March 2015, Peter Storm writes, privatisation plans once again cause workers to go on strike in protest. This time, not plans to privatise a turtle sanctuary, but the postal service. Last Sunday, 900 workers went on strike.

“The strike will continue until the government agrees to our demands,” a senior postal employee told Muscat Daily.

Already in 2011, Omani postal workers had gone on strike.

One result of the 2011 pro-democracy movement in Oman was that the government set up the Public Authority for Consumer Protection. There, consumers can complain if businesses sell them a device which does not work, or is too expensive. The government had plans to scale back this organisation, which does not fit in a ‘Chicago boys‘ ‘free market’ ideology. However, people’s protests prevented that. And now, the postal workers anti-privatisation strike. Peter Storm concludes that the Arab spring is not dead in Oman; in spite of sometimes bloody repression.

15 thoughts on “Arab spring alive in Oman sultanate

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  5. Workers at Oman Mining Company return to work

    According to the Muscat Daily on August 27, 150 striking workers of the Oman Mining Company returned to work after a meeting on Sunday.

    The workers returned after a deal was reached with the Ministry of Manpower regarding an increase in the payment of annual increment and maintaining health and safety standards in the company.

    The company was paying 5 to 10 percent of the basic salary as an annual increment since 2011. The dispute began in January this year when the company reduced it to just 3 percent.


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