Since rumors are circulating at large in Muscat it is somewhat difficult to get the facts straight. Some are saying that protests are due to begin in Muscat and in Nizwa today, others are reporting that the riots have already died down. To be on the safe side I convinced the husband to get some extra grocery shopping done yesterday, to stock up on water and other essentials. It bothers me that a supermarket in Sohar has been targeted so I am making it a point to be safe rather than sorry. Everyone I know has also filled up the tanks of their car as usually in times of a crisis the jams at the petrol stations are a few kilometers long. I must add that so far everything is calm, we are going about our day as usual. What is unusual however are the front page news today of Muscat Daily and Times of Oman, showing gruesome images of enraged crowds and black smoke rising from all directions. Muscat Daily reports that a spokesman of Oman Police confirmed that there were two dead and 35 injured during the day. There are over 56 trucks and dozens of other vehicles trapped at roundabouts unable to get through due to the demonstrations. Tear gas was used by the police in an attempt to break up the crowd who in turn retaliated with rocks.
The spokesman also added that two ROP cars were destroyed by the rioters, but the eyewitnesses place the numbers much higher. His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said has issued the following directives today:
  • Sayyid Ali bin Hamoud al Busaidi, Minister of the Diwan of the Royal Court to move to Sohar to meet the protesters and listen to their demands
  • The formation of a ministerial committee under the chairmanship of the Minister of the Diwan of the Royal Court to come up with suggestions to enhance the jurisdiction of the Shura Court
  • Steps to be taken to enhance the role of the State Financial Audit with the inclusion of State Council members to reveal malpractices if any, in the administrative apparatus
  • A monthly grant of RO150 each for Omani jobseekers registered with the Ministry of Manpower until they find jobs
  • A number of ministers are to be appointed from the Majlis A’Shura starting from the next term
  • 50,000 Omani citizens to be given employment (ONA)
It is indeed a shame that what just recently were peaceful demonstrations have turned into ugly protests involving violence, destruction of private and public property and worst of all- death.My Omani colleagues are greatly bothered by the events taking place in the interiors as many have families located there and commute there frequently.

I sincerely hope that the steps the government is taking will be sufficient to calm the crowd. I must stress the point that no one is calling for HM to step down- his people love him extensively and support the measures he is taking to promote peace within the Sultanate.
For additional posts on these events please refer to Muscat Mutterings, Dhofar Gucci and Hallucinations of a Kitten.
***Updates:
-It appears that the Lulu Hypermarket near the Globe roundabout has been burnt down by protestors. Alongside numerous vehicles, the house of the governor, the police station and other properties. Ya, because nothing says “peaceful change” like a bonfire.
As of now, the Lulu Hypermarket in Muscat has been shut down since yesterday evening.

Pictures taken from a local forum.

Friends back home-please do not worry, we are all safe here in Muscat.