Protests in Muscat and Salalah, forces prevent embassy march

Protesters stage a march in Salalah on Friday (tahyati.blogspot.com)

Muscat - 

A number of people staged protests in Muscat and Salalah on Friday afternoon against a controversial film made by a US-based filmmaker.

In Muscat, a group of about 50 people staged a demonstration in the embassies district of Al Khuwayr in the afternoon. They also attempted to march towards the nearby US Embassy but were prevented by Omani security personnel, who were present in large numbers.

The protesters began to arrive at a gathering point just outside the Japanese Embassy shortly after midday prayers, displaying placards with slogans against the film. Security personnel barricaded all roads leading to the US Embassy, turning away traffic.

“We are here because of the film that was made by US and Israel. We don't want any more excuses from the US,” said Abdulrahman, one of the protesters. Another protester, Ali, added that anti-Islamic incidents in the US should stop.

At around 3pm, security forces stopped an attempt by the group to march towards the embassy.

An eyewitness said that the group 'headed towards the US Embassy and were chanting slogans'. ROP officials at the scene declined to provide any details.

In Salalah, a group of over 50 people staged a protest march in the centre of the city after Friday prayers, according to eyewitnesses.

When contacted by Muscat Daily, US Embassy officials confirmed they had issued an advisory over the weekend to US nationals in Oman.

The advisory recommended that US nationals avoid the embassy area as well as areas where demonstrations are held.

The advisory added that even protests that are intended to be peaceful could turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. “As always, please be aware of your surroundings and monitor local media,” it said.

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