Oman protests continue ahead of royal visit

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For the eighth day in a row, hundreds of people in Oman have staged a demonstration in front of the country's consultative assembly demanding that Sultan Qaboos turn the body into a real parliament. Queen Beatrix, Crown-Prince Willem-Alexander and Princes Máxima were to begin a state visit there today. Due to the unrest, the visit has been postponed until Tuesday and downgraded to a private visit.

The protesters are peaceful, well-organised and very disciplined. They have set up tents, with separate accommodations for men and women, and placards with protest slogans have been translated into English, French and German for the benefit of international media.

Protests against corrupt ministers, poor living conditions and in favour of democracy had, until ten days ago, never been seen in Oman. Rallies in support of the sultan, who has been in power for the past 41 years, are a common occurrence and are being staged daily.

Several Dutch parties have voiced concerns in parliament that the planned royal visit could be seen to give support to the country's authoritarian sultan. Parliament will debate the matter on Tuesday.

Ajax beat AZ 4-0, securing their third spot in the Premier League. With eight matches to go, Ajax are trailing table leaders PSV by five points and FC Twente by just two.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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