Oman's late bloom into spring

Netizens respond to the arrest of up to 22 activists.

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  1. Rights groups in Oman say that writers, journalists, bloggers and poets were arrested after calling for reforms. The story was also reported by Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram.
  2. Protests inspired by Arab Spring uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt erupted in various parts of Oman last year demanding jobs and an end to corruption. Security forces moved against the protests, which ended after promises of reforms. Omani activists say only a handful of the promised reforms has been realised.
  3. On June 11, protesters gathered in front of the General Police Headquarters in the capital Muscat to call for the release of detained activists. 
  4. According to the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, "Security forces and anti-riot [sic] have reportedly arrested all protesters, which according to some reports amounts to the arrest of 22 human rights defenders. They have been taken to Samail Central Prison, located approximately 90 km from Muscat".
  5. In this video recorded from Oman state television, the news anchor says the protesters' actions are illegal and go against common decency:
  6. احتجاج على القبض على نشطاء عمانين متهمين
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  8. Responding to the video, this Facebook user above says, "We thank the Omani press for caring about these issues which are important to the citizens and to their national security. And we hope for continued clarification so that every citizen is informed and thereby eliminating any doubts or exploitation of these cases by certain groups aiming to sabotage or distort truths. We also hope these groups are prohibited from or advised against protesting daily because it is unnecessary and pointless. The prosecutor general clarified why they were arrested and that the proceedings are legal."
  9. Others challenged the detentions, criticising the Omani government for its response.
  10. @ali_allawati says, "We will not be better than Kuwait, Egypt or Tunisia in terms of determining our own fate".
  11. @rthaath asks, "Is it an arrest or a kidnapping when security forces take people from a workplace or a cafe without an arrest warrant?"
  12. The cartoon tweeted by @AlKumity shows human rights chained by "oppression" on the right and "security" on the left. The message below features hashtags with the names of some of the detained activists, as well as the phrase, "Glory to the lions of rights, freedom, justice and equality".
  13. This tweet says, "There are [similar] arrests in all the Gulf countries, and Oman is no exception. And the accusations against Omani detainees are lesser than those in other Gulf countries where citizenship can be revoked".
  14. Others have shown hope, saying, "Our spring will turn into Jasmine [revolution]". The flower petals spell out "freedom" in Arabic.
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