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Originally published February 27, 2011 at 8:36 PM | Page modified February 28, 2011 at 8:58 AM

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Revolutionary fervor spreads to Oman and Saudi Arabia

The revolutionary fervor unleashed across the region in the wake of Tunisia's revolt on Sunday spread to Oman and Saudi Arabia, two countries in the oil-rich Persian Gulf that had hitherto seemed relatively immune to the turmoil.

The revolutionary fervor unleashed across the region in the wake of Tunisia's revolt on Sunday spread to Oman and Saudi Arabia, two countries in the oil-rich Persian Gulf that had hitherto seemed relatively immune to the turmoil.

Saudi Arabia

A group of 119 Saudi academics and activists called for the replacement of the current government with a constitutional monarchy that would dramatically reduce the hereditary powers of the royal family, raising the specter of unrest spreading to the world's largest oil producer. On Twitter and Facebook, activists called for demonstrations on March 11 and 20 to demand reforms, echoing the "Day of Rage" dates set by activists elsewhere.

Oman

Hundreds of demonstrators clashed with riot police in the northeast port city of Sohar on Sunday, and Oman's state news agency, ONA, said two protesters demanding political reforms, jobs and higher wages were killed after the governor's residence, a police station, houses and cars were set on fire. Shortly after the violence, Sultan Qaboos bin Said, who has led oil-rich Oman for the past 40 years, gave orders to create 50,000 jobs and payments of $386 a month to every job seeker.

Tunisia

Tunisia, whose revolution convulsed the Arab world, ousted its second leader in less than two months Sunday, as the euphoria triggered by the uprising in January began to give way to the realization that achieving meaningful reforms may prove tougher than toppling dictators. Tunisian Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannoushi said he was stepping down after days of violent clashes between police and protesters in the capital, Tunis, that left three demonstrators dead. Ghannouchi was a longtime ally of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who fled the country on Jan. 14 amid massive protests.

Bahrain

About 2,000 protesters staged an angry march, rejecting negotiations with the government and calling for the resignation of the Cabinet. Some chanted, "Down, down, Khalifa," in reference to King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa.

Seattle Times news services

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