Muscat: Even as the government announced some measures to ease citizens’ hardships in response to recent peaceful protests, the sit-in at Sohar town 230-km north of Muscat, continued till late evening.

“All the major shops, including LuLu Hypermarket, Centre Point and some eateries in the area are shut down since late afternoon,” an eye witness told Gulf News from Sohar over the phone.

Preferring not to be identified the eye witness said that some of the protesters barged into a hypermarket and a glass window was broken but everything was under control.

Rumour started doing rounds in Muscat about protest march in Sohar but the eye witness, who has lived in Oman for a very long time, said that nothing untoward happened except a bit invasion in the hypermarket.

The security officials showed extreme patience and no force was used, the witness said. The main roads around this port town were sealed off but small vehicles were allowed to ply on service lanes.

Meanwhile, the the Diwan of Royal Court, on the ordrers of Sultan Qaboos Bin Saeed, has decided to set up an independent authority for the consumer protection in the country.

It has also been decided to study the possibility of establishing cooperative societies in the country.

It has been decided to reduce the percentage contribution of civil servants in the Civil Employees Pension Fund from eight percent to seven percent of the monthly basic salary, adding to it 75 percent of the housing, electricity and water allowances.

It has also been decided to increase allowances for students of Colleges of Applied Sciences under the Ministry of Higher Education and the college students of the Technical colleges and centres affiliated to the Ministry of Manpower.

Students, whose homes are 100-km away from the place of study, will be now given 90 Omani riyal allowances while those living at a less than 100-km distance would get 25-riyal allowance.