SOHAR: Omani troops fired into the air near a port yesterday to clear a fourth day of protests for jobs and political reforms, wounding one person in the town of Sohar, witnesses said.
“We were 200 to 300 people on the road. The army started shooting in the air,” one protester said. “Many ran. The man who was shot had come to calm the army down.”
The crowd dispersed before regrouping again near the port and the troops pulled back.
After the confrontation, traffic flowed freely into the port despite the presence of around 150 protesters.
Troops had been deployed in the city beforehand but until yesterday had refrained from intervening to stop protests.
At the nearby Globe Roundabout, centre of the Sohar protests, five armoured vehicles watched the square.
Later in capital Muscat, more than 200 people gathered in a silent protest in front of the Shura Council building, asking for jobs and reforms.
About 2,000 people also gathered at a Muscat mosque to voice support for Sultan Qaboos and the government, blaming violence during demonstrations on protesters.
Sultan Qaboos yesterday gave more independence to the Public Prosecution and ordered the creation of an independent consumer protection watchdog to monitor prices. On Sunday he promised 50,000 jobs, unemployment benefits of $390 (BD147) a month and to study widening the power of the council.