Oman’s Arab Spring
Generally the demonstrations, organized by young Omanis with the help of social media, were non-violent. However, in Sohar, protestors set fire to several government buildings and clashed with security forces, who used tear gas, rubber bullets and batons to disperse them. One protestor was killed, dozens were arrested. This violent clash sparked demonstrations and sit-ins in other cities and towns, such as Salalah in the far south and Sur in the east, where protesters gathered around squares in support of their counterparts in Sohar. Again, the unrest was suppressed.
Despite limited social and political reforms announced by Sultan Qaboos in 2011, protests re-emerged in the spring of 2012 over unemployment and the slow pace of reforms. A wave of arrests targeted human rights activists, bloggers and journalists who had criticized the government’s failure to implement reforms and protect human rights. In 2012, a total of 35 activists were sentenced to prison for protesting and expressing their views on social media, according to Human Rights Watch.