Security forces break up Bait al Barka R/A protest

A demonstration at Bait al Barka roundabout by thousands of jobseekers ended on Tuesday evening after the demonstrators were chased away from the roundabout by anti-riot forces from the ROP as well as personnel from Royal Army of Oman and the Royal Guard of Oman.

No injuries were reported in the brief action undertaken by the security forces to clear the roundabout. The trouble first started late on Monday night after a huge crowd gathered at the Bait al Barka roundabout following a rumour that registration for jobs with the military and security forces was being done at Barka.

Nearly 3,000 people, many coming from the Batinah region, gathered at the roundabout, some then proceeding to stage a sit-in there demanding jobs with the security forces. The roundabout and parts of the highway were subsequently closed to traffic. Following talks between the demonstrators and high-ranking military officials, many were then taken to military camps in the interior for job registration, medical and aptitude tests.

On Tuesday morning, the numbers were down to about 150 which started to grow with fresh arrivals at the roundabout. Soon there were over 1,500 people who promptly proceeded to stage a second sit-in demanding that they too be registered and be given jobs immediately – a demand that was subsequently refused by the authorities. The roads were open till about noon after which the roundabout was closed again with the ROP diverting traffic to internal roads.

Armored personnel carriers, water cannons and anti-riot forces were positioned around the roundabout late on Tuesday afternoon, following which action was finally taken to disperse the crowd around 5.45pm on Tuesday.

The riot-control forces went into action after the protesters repeatedly refused to evacuate the roundabout. They then used canes and batons to disperse the crowd and arrested those who still refused to leave the place. Forces from the Royal Guard then took over the roundabout.


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