Sohar peaceful under heavy security cover

(Khalid Abdul Nabi/Muscat Daily)

Muscat - 

The port city of Sohar was calm on Friday with the army taking full control of the port city. Though rumours had abounded that a large number of protesters, including women and children, would take to the streets of Sohar after the Friday prayers, no untoward incidents were reported till late on Friday.

Towards midday, four army helicopters hovered over Sohar, conducting an aerial survey. Army contingents were also positioned at all roundabouts and main junctions in the city.

Earlier, the army had set up check posts at both the main entry points into Sohar. There were armoured personnel carriers and temporary checkpoints at the Sohar Gate, the southern entry point to the city. Army personnel were also checking resident cards of all local people and were verifying them with their ‘wanted list’. They also checked vehicles for hidden arms and ammunitions.

On the northern side of Sohar,  army personnel were deployed at the Liwa roundabout, while  the main checking was done at the Sohar Port roundabout. At the Globe roundabout, there were more than 40 personnel carriers and around 300 armymen and anti-riot policemen.

Temporary checkpoints were erected and personnel carriers were positioned at Sallan, Falaj al Qabail and Al Quala roundabouts. Army personnel were also deployed at the Al  Suwaiharah roundabout and at the Wali’s office.

Meanwhile, a Sohar resident said that the imam of the Sheikh Khalifa Mosque, from where the protesters started their demonstration last Friday, had asked people to be patient during his sermon. Ahmed al Hinai quoted the imam as saying, ‘Since the government has already met many of the demands of the protesters, they should give more time to the government to address their other grievances’.

The imam was also reported by Hinai to have said during his sermon that it was against the spirit of Islam to take women to dangerous places and demonstrations.
Another resident of the city, Suleiman al Shibily, said, “I have asked my brother not join the protesters anymore as they have lost their peaceful ways.”

When asked for a solution to end the tensions in the city, an Omani youth, who did not want to be named, said, “Just like the government has announced more jobs, the private sector also should come forward and recruit more Omanis and  give them responsibilities and a chance to rise in their professional career.”

Meanwhile, the protesters continued their sit-in in Salalah though their numbers have declined. Only about 1,500 people gathered for Friday prayers at the main protest site opposite the governor’s office in central Salalah. The imam leading the prayers was quoted as encouraging them to remain steadfast in their demands.

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