The revolutionary fervor unleashed across the region in the wake of Tunisia’s revolt on Sunday spread to Oman and Saudi Arabia, two countries in the oil-rich Persian Gulf that had hitherto seemed relatively immune to the turmoil.
A group of 119 Saudi academics and activists called for the replacement of the current government with a constitutional monarchy that would dramatically reduce the hereditary powers of the royal family, raising the specter of unrest spreading to the world’s largest oil producer. On Twitter and Facebook, activists called for demonstrations on March 11 and 20 to demand reforms, echoing the “Day of Rage” dates set by activists elsewhere.
Hundreds of demonstrators clashed with riot police in the northeast port city of Sohar on Sunday, and Oman’s state news agency, ONA, said two protesters demanding political reforms, jobs and higher wages were killed after the governor’s residence, a police station, houses and cars were set on fire. Shortly after the violence, Sultan Qaboos bin Said, who has led oil-rich Oman for the past 40 years, gave orders to create 50,000 jobs and payments of $386 a month to every job seeker.