Arab uprising: Country by country - Oman

  • Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali
    Aged 75
    Deposed after 23 years

  • Hosni Mubarak
    Aged 84
    Deposed after 29 years

  • Muammar Gaddafi
    Aged 68
    Killed after 42 years

  • Ali Abdullah Saleh
    Aged 70
    Deposed after 33 years

  • Bashar al-Assad
    Aged 48
    In power since 2000

  • King Hamad al-Khalifa
    Aged 63
    In power since 1999

  • King Abdullah Al Saud
    Aged 89
    In power since 2005

  • King Mohammed VI
    Aged 50
    In power since 1999

  • Abdelaziz Bouteflika
    Aged 76
    In power since 1999

  • King Abdullah II
    Aged 51
    In power since 1999

  • Sultan Qaboos bin Said
    Aged 73
    In power since 1970

  • Sheikh Sabah Al Sabah
    Aged 84
    In power since 2006

  • "We had a clean revolution. The former president turned out to be a coward. He just ran away. Not like the others - like the poor Libyans, or in Syria - but it lit the fuse to all the other revolutions"
    Wassim Herissi, radio DJ
  • "Our country's condition was getting worse and worse. There was corruption, torture, injustice, inequality and no freedom. Someone had to stand up and say 'enough is enough'"
    Ahmed Raafat Amin, protester
  • "It's freedom. There's no Gaddafi, unbelievable. I feel the freedom. I smell the freedom."
    Lamin el-Bijou, Banghazi resident
  • "If they are trying to scare us, they are wrong. We will continue. Let them come and burn the whole square, we will not leave."
    Protester in Change Square, Sanaa
  • "The Tunisians had already been freed. The Egyptians were on their way to be free. We thought it was our turn to be free too"
    Amer Matar, organiser of the first major protest in Syria
  • "We don't fear death any more, let the army come and kill us to show the world what kind of savages they are"
    Protester, Pearl Square, Manama
  • "I don't believe that liberal democracy will be put in place tomorrow but we have to start somewhere. Equality, the rule of law - the country is ready for this. We have to start the process"
    Dr Tawfik Alsaif, dissident campaigner
  • "They dare to voice criticism that they haven't dared to before; they dare say we want a king who does not rule, but who is a symbol. They dare to say and discuss this. Before it was not permitted"
    Mohamed El-Boukili, Moroccan Association for Human Rights
  • "One day this will be bigger than Tahrir Square - but not today. We will keep returning every week though until things begin to change and Algeria has democracy"
    Young protester at a rally
  • "We have to keep the pressure on this government. We are in the streets and we'll stay in the streets until we see all these demands working on the ground"
    Muhannad Sahafiin, protester
  • "Oman's stability was always just a cover... Oman is still a bomb waiting to explode"
    Basma al-Kiyumi, activist
  • "We have a government that doesn't listen, doesn't see and all it does is deceiving the people."
    Obeid al-Wasmi, opposition politician

What happened?

Map of Oman

Unprecedented protests erupted in Oman in February 2011, when thousands took to the streets to demand jobs and an end to corruption. The security forces initially tolerated the demonstrations, but when one in the town of Sohar became violent they used lethal force to disperse it. In May 2011, they broke up sit-ins in the capital Muscat, Sur and Salalah. The next month, 15 protesters from Sohar were sentenced to between six months and five years in prison.

Sultan Qaboos, who overthrew his father in 1970 and is the longest-serving ruler in the Middle East, responded to the unrest promising social and political reforms, including giving limited legislative and regulatory powers to the Shura Council.

But in May 2012, the authorities launched a crackdown on activists, writers and bloggers who criticised the slow pace of reform. More than 30 people were sentenced to between 12 and 18 months in prison after being convicted of charges such as "defaming the sultan".

In February 2013, the government sought to ease public discontent at unemployment and inadequate pay by announcing plans to limit the number of foreign workers and increase the minimum wage. The next month, Sultan Qaboos pardoned all the activists detained in 2012. In July, he pardoned all those jailed over the 2011 protests.

Where are we now?

With Oman's energy resources less ample than its wealthy Gulf neighbours, the government is currently facing challenges in financing its state budget and generating employment for Omani citizens, complicating its efforts to maintain stability.

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