Mideast unrest spreads to Oman; 2 killed (VIDEO)


Omani protesters flash victory signs in front of a burning truck set on fire during a demonstration in Sohar, more than 125 miles northwest of Muscat, on Feb. 27, 2011. Omani police shot dead two demonstrators as the deadly wave of protests rocking the Arab world spread to the normally placid pro-Western sultanate, a security official said.


Karim Sahib

Two people were killed in Oman on Sunday when protesters demanding political reform clashed with security forces, according to reports.

The protests are the latest in a wave sweeping across the Arab world and Middle East, from Tunisia to Egypt, Libya and Yemen.

The Sultanate of Oman on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula has a population of just under 3 million.

It is the oldest independent state in the Arab world and has been ruled by the Al-Said family since 1744. The sultanate has longstanding military and political ties with the United States and Britain. Although an oil exporter it is not a member of OPEC.

According to Reuters, demonstrations in Oman are rare. In the first sign that regional unrest was spreading to Oman, about 200 people protested near ministries in Muscat earlier this month asking the government to tackle corruption and rising prices.

Since Saturday, around 2,000 Omanis have reportedly taken to the streets in the industrial city of Sohar, about 125 miles north of the capital Muscat.

According to dpa, witnesses said Sunday that police used tear gas in a bid to disperse the gathering before firing at protesters, leaving two people dead.