Oman urged not to use excessive force against protesters

Last Updated: Tue, Mar 01, 2011 11:00 hrs

London, March 1 (IANS) The rights group Amnesty International has called on the Omani authorities not to use excessive force against the anti-government protesters.

The call comes after two people were reportedly killed when police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at the protesters over the weekend, Iran's official IRNA news agency reported.

'The Omani security forces appear to have used excessive force against protesters,' said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty's director of its Middle East and North Africa programme.

'We urge the government to order an immediate independent investigation to determine whether the force used by the police was excessive, as it appears was the case, and to ensure accountability,' Smart said.

Anti-government protesters Monday began demonstrations in the northern city of Sohar and in the southern town of Salalah.

'The government must respect the right of people to engage in peaceful protest and ensure that they can do so without fear or threat,' Smart said.

He also called on the Omani authorities to ensure that the security forces 'comply fully with international standards on the use of force and firearms'.