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Protests for Better Wages Continue in Oman

Demonstrating for higher wages, private security guards blocked the main airport in the Gulf State of Oman on Wednesday.

Concessions Granted

Despite the fact that Oman’s ruler, Sultan Qaboos bin Said, has granted several concessions since the unrest began there several weeks ago, the unrest has continued apparently unabated. The Sultan, who has been in power for 40 years, as already decided to give some legislative powers to the Oman Council, to double monthly welfare payments, and to raise pension payments. This follows the pattern of other Gulf States who are offering cash to protesters in an effort to quell the unrest and maintain order.

In the latest action by demonstrators, about 400 to 500 security guards, who are privately employed by several different security companies, staged a protest on the road to the Muscat airport.

One protester, who wished to remain unnamed, said that, “Our objective of this protest is for our wages to be raised.”

The protesters left the scene when the police asked them to disperse. No violence was reported, although some travelers did not make their flights in time.

Other Protests in Oman

Workers from the state run oil firm Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) also demonstrated on Tuesday for better wages. Several hundred employees staged their protest at the company headquarters and in the oil and gas fields. This work stoppage was the first to disrupt a Gulf energy firm since the demonstrations swept through the region.

There have been protests at Oman International Bank, Oman Investment Finance Company and the Intercontinental Hotel, which is owned by the government.

There have also been demonstrations for improved political conditions, including sit-ins at the consultative Shura Council in Muscat, in front of the governor’s office in Salalah in the south and also in Sohar. Along with improved wages, and an increase in the number of jobs, protesters also demand an elected parliament and a new constitution.

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