One dead, dozen injured as Oman protest turns ugly
Police tried to disperse over 2,000 protesters, first with tear gas and batons and then rubber bullets
A burnt car near the Labour Department.
Image Credit: Supplied
Muscat: A feeling of uncertainty gripped Sohar, 230-kilometres north of Muscat on Sunday, as at least one person died and more than a dozen were injured after a protest turned violent.
Some news agencies have reported two people were killed. Witnesses speaking with Reuters said about 2,000 protesters had gathered for a second day in a square in Sohar, on the north coast, before police tried to disperse them, first with tear gas and batons and then rubber bullets.
"Two people have died after police fired rubber bullets into the crowd," one witness, who declined to be named, told Reuters.
"Some vehicles near Labour Department and Municipality offices were set on fire," a long-time Oman resident expatriate told Gulf News on the condition of anonymity.
"Neither police station nor any government building is on fire," stressed the expatriate.
The unfolding incident at first got residents curious, but as the clashes worsened, people began hoarding essentials for fear of unavailability due to closures of most major supermarkets.
A medical worker from Sohar confirmed that security forces used shells and tear gas to quell a violent mob that had completely blocked the Pearl Roundabout.
Maitham Musawi, a medical student, tweeted that he saw people with gunshot wounds.
He tweeted: "CONFIRMED: 12 injured and 1 died in Sohar hospital most of them from gunshot wounds, 2 r in surgery."
He also tweeted that protesters surrounded the police station in Sohar demanding the release of protesters arrested yesterday.
Referring to protesters, he wrote: "They burned a ‘gas truck' in protest near the police station! That's when the shooting started."
A medical worker told Gulf News that people with minor injuries were being treated at the old hospital.
According to the Oman News Agency, a number of demonstrators in Sohar were involved in riots that led to the destruction of a number of public and private properties.
Police and anti-riot groups combated this group — in a bid to ensure the safety of the citizens and their properties — which resulted in some injuries.
Protests also took place in the southern town of Salalah where a small number of demonstrators have camped out since Friday near the office of a provincial governor, Reuters reported.
Factbox: Oldest free state
- Oman is the oldest independent state in the Arab world and has been ruled by the Al Saeed family since 1744. Although an oil exporter it is not a member of Opec.
- Sultan Qaboos Bin Saeed, 70, became Sultan in July 1970 after deposing his father in a coup.
- He appoints the cabinet. In 1992, Sultan Qaboos allowed a parliament called Majlis Shura.
- Oman produced around 860,000 barrels of oil per day last year.
- The economy grew by a faster-than-expected 6 per cent in 2010 and robust crude oil prices enabled Oman to overspend on its 2010 budget.
- Population: 2.7 million, 70 per cent Omani nationals.
- Ethnicity: Arab, Balochi, East African (Zanzabari), South Asian (Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi).
- Religion: Muslim 86 per cent, Hindu 13 per cent, other 1 per cent.
- Geography: 300,000 sq km, with 1,700km of coastline on the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea.
Vandalised Manpower Ministry department in Sohar.
Image Credit: Supplied
Ministry: Only Omanis allowed to handle consular matters in HR domain
‘Expats can no longer represent Omanis or corporate services at Consular Department’
Most of the companies in Oman have a dedicated PRO (as they are commonly called) team consisting of Omani and expatriate staff within the HR department.
Image Credit: Supplied
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Muscat: Oman’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) has shared a circular saying that expatriate staff cannot any longer represent consular-related matters pertaining to corporate houses they work for nor can they represent Omani citizens’ consular matters in Oman.
A statement issued online by the MoFA said: “Expatriates can no longer represent Omani citizens or corporate services at the Consular Department at the ministry. Expatriates may present documentation for consular services when it is in regard to their own personal services.”
Most of the companies in Oman have a dedicated PRO (as they are commonly called) team consisting of Omani and expatriate staff within the HR department that handles routine matters that need the approval and permission of Oman’s Foreign Ministry. With this ruling, this position is also effectively earmarked for Omanis, who were in any case handling most of the government and ministry related work of most corporate organisations. Many private sector companies in Oman have expatriate staff as well in this field of work.
Sundar Kumar, working in the HR department of a leading automotive dealer in Oman, handling specifically consular related work, said the bulk of consular work at the Omani ministries has invariably been handled by Omani citizens for a long time . “But we don’t know how this would affect the renewal of our resident card. We have to wait and watch.”
These are some of the best places for iftar in Muscat
From chicken biryani to jalebis, there’s no shortage of mouth-watering offerings
Al Ravi offers juicy fares, like sheekh kababs.
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Muscat: With the onset of Ramadan, there are loads of special iftar offers on social media platforms in Oman. As people prefer home deliveries due to the COVID-19 situation, most of the shops have added ‘fast delivery’ as their USP.
Some of the best snacks to break the fast with can be found in Al Ravi, opposite City Cinema, Ruwi. This is the same joint that had always been popular in dishing out tasty grilled meat, kababs, samosas of different fillings and jalebis, which have been hailed as the best in Oman.
Many people staying in and around Ruwi make it a point to collect their iftar goodies when the Al Ravi opens for home-deliveries at 4pm.
Woodlands restaurant in the Central Business District in Ruwi has an iftar platter that is neatly packed and gets ready in minutes. The platter that cost RO5.9 contains starters of chicken lollypop, vegetable pakoda, dry cauliflower Manchurian, apart from fish tikka masala, chicken biryani, paratha, as well as gulab jamun or jalebi. The essential lassi, fruits, dates, water bottle, and salad are also packed neatly in the box.
The Woodland's platter cost RO5.9 contains starters of chicken lollypop, vegetable pakoda, dry cauliflower Manchurian, apart from fish tikka masala, chicken biryani, paratha, as well as gulab jamun or jalebi.
Nishant, manager of Woodlands, said the iftar orders are also customised and delivered, as per the preference of the customers.
Karak Gholam, a restaurant in Qurum near Vox cinema caters to the residential and corporate cluster of Qurum, an upmarket area in the capital city. Teddy, manager of the outlet, said that their samosa box is a best-seller. The outlet also has snack box that contain falafels, spring rolls and samosas, as well as chappati rolls that have a variety of fillings, like the popular Mumbai frankies.
Karak Gholam offers a snack box that contain falafels, spring rolls and samosas, as well as chappati rolls that have a variety of fillings, like the popular Mumbai frankies.
Ghasitaram Halwai, as always, remains one of the most-visited places for snacks like pakora, samosa, and a variety of Indian foodstuff. However, this is a vegetarian joint. Devanand, managing director of the restaurant, said his outlet has never missed offering an iftar platter, consisting of bajias made with potato, onion, eggplant, and onion pakoras, and a delightful variety of Indian sweets, including hot jalebis and gulab jamuns.
Food at Ghasitaram Halwai's is a vegetarian's delight.
There are also many housewives in the fray who supply home-cooked food like shami kebabs, beef Haleem, shahi tukda and boneless chicken curry, at a 24-hour notice.
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