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Oman arrests six as protesters call for more jobs, higher salaries.

Summary: Omani police arrested six people involved in a demonstration Monday demanding jobs and higher wages in the eastern town of Jaalan Bani Bu Ali, witnesses said.

MUSCAT: Omani police arrested six people involved in a demonstration Monday demanding jobs and higher wages in the eastern town of Jaalan Bani Bu Ali, witnesses said.

Around 100 protesters, mostly young people, marched in the streets chanting, "Where are the jobs?"

Some witnesses said the protests turned violent when some demonstrators broke into private properties and government buildings. Police arrested six people, they told Reuters.

"They went mad and started kicking doors and windows of buildings," said one witness, who preferred anonymity.

Sultan Qaboos bin Said, a U.S. ally who has ruled Oman for 40 years, promised a $2.6 billion spending package last month after nearly two months of demonstrations.

Oman's civil service minister said last week the government has employed about 33,000 people since Sultan Qaboos bin Said ordered the creation of 50,000 jobs in March.

"We have been very patient in the last two months waiting for jobs. All the jobs are going to people in the cities and not in smaller towns," 23-year-old protester Hamed Abu Suroor said.

Protests in the Arabian Peninsula state first turned violent in late February when security forces opened fire at stone-throwing demonstrators in the industrial town of Sohar. At least two people were killed.

The government quashed protests there by dismantling protesters' roadblocks and clearing out the area where they had been camping out for days on end. Others in Sohar said they were appeased when they received jobs.

In the southern resort town of Salalah, demonstrators have gathered peacefully every Friday for the last two months outside the office of the governor, demanding an end to alleged corruption among government officials.

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Publication:The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)
Geographic Code:7OMAN
Date:May 10, 2011
Words:319
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