OMAN: Protesters remain in streets as death toll from clashes rises; videos said to show protests emerge
Protesters remained in the streets of the Omani industrial city of Sohar on Monday, reportedly blocking the road to the port and a refinery, a day after the city witnessed deadly clashes between security forces and demonstrators demanding greater democracy and more jobs.
Witnesses first put the number of deaths at two, but the Reuters news agency, citing an emergency doctor at a hospital in Sohar, reported that the death toll from Sunday's protests has risen to six.
Media reports said that about 1,000 people were blocking the roads to the main industrial area in Sohar on Monday and that hundreds more were lingering at a roundabout, angry about police firing at protesters.
Omani TV editor Asma Rshid told CNN on Sunday that protesters were shot at because they were setting cars and property ablaze.
"The police shot them because they burned shops and cars in Sohar," she said.
Meanwhile, amateur footage said to show Sunday's protests and clashes in Sohar have surfaced on the Internet. The video above shows crowds in the streets and thick clouds of smoke, perhaps tear gas, billowing into the sky. Toward the end of the video, the crowd turns around and starts running in the opposite direction when shots start ringing out.
Below is more footage said to have been filmed during Sunday's protests, showing what appears to be a person lying in the street near an armored vehicle and a member of the security forces.
Angry demonstrators reportedly burned down two police stations and a state building in Sohar after Sunday's deadly clashes.
The video below is said to show smoke rising from a police station in the city on Sunday.
The Associated Press reported Monday that Omani security forces have started to block roads leading to Sohar in an apparent attempt to stem protests and prevent crowds from growing.
On Saturday, Oman's longtime ruler, Sultan Kaboos ibn Said, reshuffled his Cabinet and announced some social reforms in what appears to be an effort to calm protests and stem public discontent.
-- Alexandra Sandels in Beirut
Video credit: YouTube