On Wednesday, Omani authorities released dozens of activists who were arrested last week during the public protests over the country’s economic crisis and unemployment.
Starting on 23 May, the public protests have diffused in many cities, and protestors have raised their voice to criticize the deteriorating economic conditions of Oman by demanding employment. Omani police intervened in protests by using tear gas and arresting more than 100 people. These protests have been appeased in a short period without becoming too extended and violent.
Last week, the Royal Oman Police announced that it had detained many people for a variety of offenses, including obstructing the roads, seizing transport vehicles and harming public and private properties.
According to information coming from activists, Oman released many protestors including prominent activists Ibrahim al-Balushi, who was arrested on 26 May and held in solitary confinement as claimed in a joint statement from the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) and the Omani Association for Human Rights (OAHR). Balushi is seen as one of the leaders of the protestors in Sohar.
It is also expected that the remaining jailed people will be released soon.
According to the released activists’ explanations, the arrested activists were released only after they signed a written pledge to not participate in public demonstrations or call for protests on social media again.
Oman’s economic performance has substantially deteriorated amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Falling government incomes and growing budget deficits and unemployment have become a chronic problem of the country. In this situation, the public protestors demanding employment have raised their voice. In response, Oman announced a new employment program aiming to create more than 32,000 jobs to recover injuries of the COVID-19 pandemic and to calm ongoing protests.