Protesters in Oman take to the streets

Protesters in Oman take to the streets

 Instead of conducting prayers in a mosque, a preacher held them in a car park across the street from the governor's office, where about 3,000 worshippers had gathered. They marched through the streets after his sermon.

“The Omani people are not afraid of protesting for as long as it takes for reform, first and foremost is to get government officials, who have been embezzling funds for years, to stand trial," the cleric, Amer Hargan, told the crowd.

Sultan Qaboos bin Said, a U.S. ally who has ruled Oman for 40 years, promised a $2.6 billion spending package last Sunday after nearly two months of demonstrations inspired by popular uprisings that have spread across the Arab world.

Omani demonstrators have focused their demands on better wages, jobs and an end to graft. Many are angered by the state's perceived unwillingness to prosecute ministers sacked for corruption in response to demonstrations in February.

They are also impatient to see more employment opportunities, after Sultan Qaboos vowed last month to create 50,000 jobs. Unrest in Oman has been on a relatively small scale, with dozens of protesters camping out in tents near the quasi-parliament, the Shura council, in the capital Muscat.