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Protesters in Oman happy with Qaboos’ decision to give Council of Oman powers

Sultan Qaboos Bin Saeed’s Royal Decrees Sunday made the protesters happy as more of their demands were met

By Sunil K. Vaidya, Bureau Chief
23:36 March 13, 2011
Sultan Qaboos Bin Saeed

Muscat: Sultan Qaboos Bin Saeed’s Royal Decrees Sunday made the protesters happy as more of their demands were met, with some saying that they would end protests.

“Sixty to 80 per cent of demands have already been met so there is no reason to continue protesting,” Dr Hussain Al Abry, a psychiatrist with a government hospital, who was a solo protester against Oman Television for the last four days, told Gulf News.

There were still some demands, including salary increases, that had to be met but most of the protesters would gradually give up now, he felt.

“The decree to give Council of Oman legislative and regulatory powers is a huge step and we really appreciate our leader His Majesty Sultan Qaboos for that,” said the medico writer, whose award winning novel is banned in Oman.

Talking to Gulf News at the protest held by Information Ministry staff in front of the ministry, Dr Abry said that reshuffling of cabinet and replacing the Inspector General of Police were major decisions that all protesters are happy about.

“Removing the IGP is the best decision so far,” Oman’s well-known blogger and one of the leading protesters, Ali Al Zuwaidi, told Gulf News.

Al Zuwaidi would like to wait and see how the new decision on the legislative and regulatory powers given to the Council of Oman works. “We need to see further elaboration,” said Al Zuwaidi, who hit the headlines when he was tried on the charges of leaking government documents.

However, he said that he was very happy, at least in principle, about the new Royal Decree that gives legislative and regulatory authority to the Council of Oman.

He said that protests should continue as one of the demands of investigating deposed ministers for their corrupt practices is still not met. “They should be investigated or at least a process should be initiated for the same.”

Mussalam Al Baqi, a protester in Salalah, has different opinion. He told Gulf News that time had come to relent and give up protests. “We should be thankful to Sultan Qaboos for giving so much and trust him for the better in future,” he believes.

Lawyer Dr Tareq Al Busaidi also advocated halt to protests in the country. “I agree with some of the younger generation as they have different methods to put forward their own demands but time has come to move forward as His majesty has given us a lot,” he said.

He believes that Sultan Qaboos is giving people of Oman their own brand of democracy. “He knows what is applicable here, we are different and what will work here,” he said, urging people to trust the leader and his vision.

“The way he (Qaboos) is giving to people is a good indication for the people of Oman,” he stressed.