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19-06-2012 - AFP

Gulf activists demand release of Oman protesters

Civil society groups in the Gulf states on Tuesday called on Oman to immediately release more than 30 rights activists arrested in the past few days for demanding reforms.

The Gulf Forum for Civil Societies (GFCS), an organisation of liberal activists in the Gulf, said Omani authorities arrested 22 activists on Monday who were demanding the release of 10 others held the previous week.

"We call on the Omani government to free the detainees immediately without any preconditions in respect for international charters signed by Oman," said a statement signed by GFCS secretary-general Anwar Al Rasheed.

The 10 activists were arrested on June 1 when they gathered outside police headquarters in support of striking oil workers who were demanding wage raises and better working conditions, Rasheed said.

Those arrested include writers, poets, bloggers, lawyers and journalists, the statement said. They also include five women.

Oman was hit by a wave of protests last year demanding political reforms but riot police dispersed the demonstrations with force killing several activists and arresting many others.

 

Other sources on GCC civil society and human rights