PSD Director Warns of 'tough measures'; Condemns Provocations in Zarqa Salafi protest

[17-04-2011 12:00 AM]

Ammon News - By Wael Jaraysheh

AMMONNEWS - The Director General of the Public Security Department (PSD), Lt. General Hussein Hazza' Majali on Friday warned that the security forces are prepared to deal far more roughly with "those who deserve it" than they have done with protests so far. 

His statements were delivered at a press conference at the PSD directorate on Friday evening after the protest staged by the Salafis in Zarqa on Friday afternoon turned violent.
He also revealed that the protestors came from different governorates and that the greatest share came from the Salafi stronghold Rusaifeh district.

He accused the protestors of deliberately trying to draw the security forces into a bloody confrontation, and noted that  the security forces had incurred dozens of casualties whilst protecting citizens, "had they not done so, many citizens would have been injured." 

According to Majali, some of the protestors had initially been prevented from stirring up trouble by the security forces but had gone about a kilometre away from the protest site and started to attack citizens with knives, daggers and clubs which they had [unnecessarily] been using to raise their banners. 

The latest statistics indicated that 83 security personnel had been injured including senior officers. 32 of them had inhaled the tear gas they were using to disperse the Salafis, and 51 had been attacked. 4 had been seriously injured and were still being treated. 8 citizens had also been injured, 2 relatively seriously. 

17 individuals had been arrested on Friday night and others had been identified and would be pursued by the security forces. 

Majali showed video footage during the press conference reinforcing his account, saying that in fact what had happened was much worse than what was shown.  He thanked the media for documenting what had happened and offered to provide photographs proving that the security forces had been attacked. 

Asked why the security forces had been unable to protect themselves, Majali responded that it was not the goal of the police to protect themselves but rather to protect the citizenry, "which is what they had done." 

With regard to questions about putting a stop to marches if they were instigated by external elements, and about the possibility of allocating specific places for demonstrating, Majali said that this matter was not resolved, and that it was a matter for political bodies to decide this, but that it was up to those running processions to find places where the police could protect them. 

* Edited by Jessica Watkins for Ammon News English

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