At least 1,000 demonstrators have assembled and marched through the city of Salalah in southern Oman demanding more jobs, higher wages an end to corruption and democratic reforms.
While unrest in Oman has been lower-profile and more peaceful than the continuing turmoil witnessed in places like nearby Yemen and Bahrain, the central square of Salalah has served as the focal point of anti-government agitation.
The 70-year-old ruler of Oman, Qaboos bin Said al Said, has already responded to some of the protests by promising a $2.6-billion spending program that would create 50,000 jobs. He has also fired his cabinet ministers and installed a new government; and reportedly released prisoners who were detained in prior demonstrations.
Wealthier Gulf Arab neighbors have also promised to donate $20-billion in aid to Oman and Bahrain in order to stimulate the economies there and to prevent the uprising from spilling over.
But ordinary Omanis apparently are not satisfied.
According to Al Jazeera, a protest leader told the crowd in Salalah: The Omani people are not afraid of protesting for as long as it takes for reform, [but] first and foremost is to get government officials, who have been embezzling funds for years, to stand trial.”
A protester also complained to Al Jazeera: I got a job last week in the private sector, but it is only 200 rials and that is not enough to look after myself. The government needs to double the minimum wage.”
Another problem in Oman is the massive power and authority of the Sultan.
Last March, Qaboos promised he will cede some legislative powers to the Oman Council, an advisory body which is partially elected.