Clashes erupt in downtown Amman Protests | Editor's Choice | Ammon News

Clashes erupt in downtown Amman Protests

[2/19/2011 12:00:00 AM]

AMMONNEWS - Several people were injured on Friday when clashes erupted between protestors at two apposing demonstrations in downtown Amman.

The clashes erupted between protestors from two demonstrations, one calling for political and economic reform, and the other a demonstration of "Loyalty and Belonging" to King Abdullah II, with allegations that security forces did not intervene to break out the clashes.

Around eight people sustained injuries and fractures, and foreign journalists reported threats to confiscate their cameras.

Secretary General of the Popular Unity Party Saeed Dhiyab told Ammon News that the clashes were instigated by a group of hooligans, and charged that security forces condoned the violence by not intervening to break out the fights.

He blasted that the Jordanian government has not learned from the lessons of the Egyptian revolution except "Baltaja" or thuggery, taken up by Egyptian security forces to subdue protests.

Dhiyab said that what took place on Friday indicates that the government is not serious in the reform process.

Columnist and political activist Muwaffaq Mahhadeen, who sustained injuries in the head and arm on Friday, said that the behavior of a group of hooligans today gives a negative impression about the kingdom, and noted that the violence was instigated by a group of vandals paid by security forces.

"This is shameful," he expressed, "but this will not dissuade us from demanding reform.. what took place on Friday motivates us to continue in our protests."

Eye witnesses said that the group of hooligans stormed into the demonstration carrying metal batons, sticks and threw rocks at the protestors.

The first demonstration started in downtown Amman near Al Husseini mosque. Protestors demanded political and economic reforms, and protested soaring prices and restrictions on public freedoms.

Political reforms called for include a return to the Jordanian 1952 Constitution which stipulates a constitutional monarchy, with protestors demanding amending the law to enable an elected government.

Cabinets in the current Jordanian constitution are appointed by the King, who also has the authority to dismiss governments and parliaments.

Activists from leftist, Islamist and university student movements took part in the protest, supported by the growing "Jayeen" Youth Movement for Change.

The protestors were met with an apposing smaller demonstration of nearly 200 in downtown, which labeled itself as the "demonstration of loyalty and belonging to King Abdullah II, chanting slogans of "We will sacrifice ourselves with our blood and souls for Abu Hussein ~ in reference to King Abdullah.

Meanwhile, Jordan's official news agency Petra reported that protestors raised banners calling for annulling the 1994 Wadi Araba peace treaty with Israel.

Petra added that the "loyalty" protesters chanted slogans again meddling with "Jordanian national security by foreign entities."

It added that "scuffles occurred between youth in the two demonstrations because of varying opinions, leading security personnel to intervene to break up the fight."

Meanwhile, Spokesperson of the Public Security Directorate (PSD) Lt. Col. Muhammad Khatib said that the demonstration launched Friday afternoon from Al Husseini Mosque in downtown Amman, calling for economic and political reforms, Jordan's official news agency Petra reported.

Khatib added that the demonstration was met by a counter demonstration, calling for not "meddling with national security." A group of storeowners and shopkeepers from the area joined the second protest on the pretext that the demonstrations in the past weeks has interrupted their business.

Verbal and physical disputes occurred between protesters, Khatib said, causing security personnel to intervene to prevent further clashes between all parties and to protect everyone's right to peacefully express their opinion, which is the PSD policy of providing a suitable environment to a democratic and civilized way of expression.

Khatib stressed that no material damage was reported to nearby stores, and PSD reported that four people were admitted to the hospital for treatment.

Three people were discharged from the hospital, and one person remains for treatment.

Meanwhile, Mahhadeen told CNN on Friday that he sustained injuries in his arm, and five others from the Unity party also sustained light injuries.

  • 1 observer 2/18/2011 5:29:15 PM

    I like the word Baltaja. The nearest English word for Baltaja is "THUGGERY". A thug is a baltaji. Thuggish behavior not acceptable.

  • 2 Observer! 2/18/2011 9:13:19 PM

    What the protestors really want is simple: True and actual transparency and accountability under the rule of his majesty and the Hashemites! That begins with the ordering of the following: 1. The return of any state land, that was "confiscated" by ANY person, to the state's treasury. Amlak al-Dawleh IS Amlak Al-Dawleh! It didn't explode yet, but it is a time bomb and there is still time to correct that grave mistake! 2. Respect the late great King Hussein's wishes about the position of the .... What Wikileaks said about the... is true and Jordanians believe that. 3. The wife of the king has important role to play in SOCIAL issues. She and the others must get out of the politics and economics of the country! The ruling family must be above politics and be role model of the country! 4. In theory, Jordan is a CONSTITUTIONAL monarchy. In reality however, Jordan is an absolute monarchy. To get out of political stagnation, Jordan must activate and implement the 1952 constitution! The Government must be elected through a free and fair elections--A parliamentary government to be held accountable by the people(through a credible Parliament). The Four steps will take some time to fully implement, but a speech by the king assuring "his" people about the FOUR steps, starting with the return of the Treasury lands would send 100s of 1000s of joyful Jordanians to the streets in celebrations and in support for THE KING! Why not??? Under the Hashemite rule, the Jordanians deserve the best!

  • 3 3arabiyah muslimah ordoniyah 2/18/2011 11:52:41 PM

    I’m writing this as the daughter of a native Jordanian man and a native Palestinian woman, as a young woman proud of her faith and her roots, and as a citizen who has spent time living in both rural and urban Jordan.Contrary to what our previous generations have been taught, being a proud Jordanian doesn’t mean unquestioning allegiance to the king. It means actively pursuing the betterment of our country and our people. Our society is rapidly changing; for the first time, an “upper class” is developing in Jordan and widening the economic gap between the top and bottom. The fact that almost a third of Jordan is unemployed cannot be overlooked simply because upperclass families can’t feel the difficulties that many Jordanians have to face everyday. When young men and women with Masters degrees have to sit at home unable to find jobs, we are letting the great potential of our country rot away without so much as allowing it a chance to shine through.We deserve more than ... concessions made by the king to silence us and preserve ... royal line. We deserve the ability to choose who will lead our country, we deserve the ability to decide our own foreign policy, and we deserve to actually be represented by the government that runs our nation. We deserve democracy; we shouldn’t have to settle just because it might be difficult to fight for something better. We are indeed grateful for everything we have, but that does not mean we’re not being cheated out of something better.The government relies on sedating the educated population of Jordan within the cloud of a leisurely lifestyle to make it perceive that everything is great the way it is. They gladly provide us with the distractions we need to stay satisfied within our homes and not out on the streets protesting a government that was given power by the same authority that gave Palestinian land to Zionist militias not too long ago.The problem isn’t the many superficial issues that these “cockroaches” (who may have to resort to online aliases out of fear of persecution by the Jordanian secret police) are complaining about on the useless #ReformJO hashtag. The problem is the government itself. It’s time to break free from this mental prison. It’s time for us to zoom out and look at the bigger picture. It’s time for Jordanian youth and i repeat (Jordanians) to reclaim their country.

  • 4 Just wondering 2/19/2011 10:51:25 AM

    "It’s time for Jordanian youth and i repeat (Jordanians) to reclaim their country."What do you mean exactly?

  • 5 Sara 2/19/2011 5:30:02 PM

    Pleeeeeeeease!! All the youth want is to have moeny in their pockets. I am one of them and know it. Couldn't care less about the price of tomato as much as we can afford going to cafes and smoking shisha. If you want to change your country, be educated and defend it against violence. Freedom of speech is granted to some extent so use it.

  • 6 Shaher Gasem 2/19/2011 9:25:52 PM

    to No. 3:The last line has undermined your talkback entirely.

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