Saturday, March 12, 2011

Protest Fever Continues in Salalah


5,000 people still occupy the area outside the Governor’s office in central Salalah on Friday afternoon (Photo: Mohammed al Shahri)
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*** Just some extra reporting I've been doing for Muscat Daily to cover the Salalah protests***
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Susan al Shahri  - 12/03/2011 10:40 am
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Two weeks after protests started in the southern province of Dhofar, the peaceful sit-in continues in front of the Governor's office in central Salalah. Yesterday's Friday prayers witnessed a gathering of about 5,000 people, down from an estimated 10,000 last week.
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Sheikh Said Jadad, a local Imam and active speaker at the protests delivered a special Friday sermon where he thanked His Majesty for listening to the voice of the people and acting upon it. Local speakers from all walks of life continue to speak to the crowds on a daily basis and donations pour in from local supporters for the provision of meals.
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Recent changes in the cabinet as well as a number of Royal Decrees have had a positive impact on the protesters. However, most of them claim they will not leave until the remaining demands have been met. The list of demands, still prominently displayed on the Governor's main gates in Salalah include an increase in wages, cancellation of personal loans, and a public corruption investigation involving former key members of the government.
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Meanwhile, smaller protests have erupted in various locations around Salalah. On Monday morning, a group of women started protesting in front of the Women's Association's Salalah headquarters with various demands ranging from an end to government corruption to the removal of the association's management.
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At Dhofar University, several hundred students went on strike on Tuesday. Their demands included lower tuition fees, more student benefits and becoming a government-owned university. The Vice Chancellor of the University met with the students several times to discuss the way forward.
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A public relations employee at the university confirmed that all public events, including a visit by the Japanese Ambassador to Oman were postponed in order to avoid clashes with the protesting students.
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Classes were disrupted by student protests that started at Salalah College of Technology on March 1 and continued until March 9. Students asked for changes in the academic programmes, a new dean, better grading systems, and various other demands.
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A team from the Ministry of Manpower met with the students on Monday to discuss the situation and to announce the hiring of a new dean at the college. An Omani lecturer at the college said she supported the students' demands but wished classes hadn't come to a complete halt. Classes will officially resume today.
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Meanwhile, next door at Salalah College of Applied Sciences, students also went on strike last Monday. Their long list of demands included changes in the administration, better facilities and benefits for students, an easier curriculum, and the need for summer classes to be offered in Salalah.
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According to Talal, a sophomore at the college and one of the protesters, students plan to continue their protests until they receive an official reply from the Ministry of Higher Education. Unlike Salalah College of Technology, classes here weren't fully disrupted.

4 comments:

  1. أود أن أشير إلى نقطة ذكرها أحد الشباب المعتصمين الذي ألقى كلمة بالأمس(بعد صلاة العشاء) لاقت إستحسانا من أغلب الشباب المعتصمين ، والتي تتلخص بعدم رضى الكثير من الخطيب الذي توجه بالشكر للوزير المعمري في خطبة الجمعة ، فالخطيب كان عليه ان يمثل توجه المعتصمين ، لا ان يدلي برأيه الشخصي في معاليه ، وما كانت بعض الخطب التي ألقيت مساء الأمس(كان اغلبها هجوما شرسا ضد المكتب والفساد المستشري فيه) إلاّ رسالة واضحة مفادها أن على الخطيب ألا ينفرد مستقبلا بتوجيه الرسائل دون الرجوع إلى التوجه او الرأي العام لجمهور المعتصمين.

    شكرا سوسن

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  2. عندي علم بهذا الموضوع ولذلك لم أذكر موضوع الوزير المعمري في المقال واكتفيت بذكر شكر الخطيب لصاحب الجلالة

    شكرا على التعليق

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  3. Salalah College of Technology TeacherMarch 12, 2011 at 6:02 PM

    With freedom comes responsibility. It is a great thing that people, and especially the youth, are becoming so openly and passionately involved in their organizations and nation. This does underline the importance of quality, self-directed education.
    After nine days of near total disruption to classes at Salalah College of Technology, I am glad to confirm that classes continued as normal today (Saturday 3/12). I personally hope these developments will drive students to truly take their learning and lives in their own hands.

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  4. SCT Teacher ... Amen!

    ReplyDelete