Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
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following news reports are summaries from original sources. They may
also include corrections of Arabic names and political terminology.
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Jordanian Government Supporters and Opposition
Clash, First Injuries in Weeks of Protests
DALE GAVLAK Associated Press
11:10 a.m. EST, February 18, 2011
Jordan (AP) —
Clashes broke out Friday between government supporters and opponents
at a protest calling for more freedom and lower food prices, injuring
eight people in the first reported violence in weeks of demonstrations
It was the seventh straight Friday that Jordanians,
inspired by uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, took to the streets to
demand more say in decision-making.
The Amman protest drew about
2,000 people, including hard-line leftists, Muslim conservatives and
students calling for reduced power for the king and the chance to elect
members of the Cabinet.
Students from the growing "Jaayin" or "I'm Coming" movement chanted:
"We want constitutional reforms. We want a complete change to policies."
Jordan's king enjoys absolute powers, ruling by decree and he can
appoint and dismiss Cabinets and parliament whenever he wants.
"We want a complete overhaul of the political system, including the
constitution, the parliament dissolved and new free and fair elections
held," said movement member and teacher Amani Ghoul, insisting the
protests will continue until their demands are met.
such as Bashar Shahaatreh are demanding that Jordanians be able to elect
their prime minister and Cabinet officials.
"There is no
difference between this new prime minister and Cabinet appointed last
week from the old one that was dismissed," he complained. He said
high-level graft and corruption needed to be tackled.
government supporters trailed the protesters, chanting: "Our blood and
souls, we sacrifice for you Abu Hussein" — a reference to Jordan's
King Abdullah II — before clashing with the opposition march.
"They beat us with batons, pipes and hurled rocks at us," said Tareq
Kmeil, a student at the protest. "We tried to defend ourselves, to beat
He said at least eight people suffered
fractures to the skull, arms or legs.
"Police didn't do
anything to protect us," he said. "Police forces just stood on the side
watching us getting beaten."
Police spokesman Mohammed al-Khatib
said only four activists were wounded and three of them were treated at
a hospital and released.
Government spokesman Taher Edwan
condemned the attack and said authorities were investigating to see who
was behind it.
"The attackers violated citizens' rights to
express their opinions freely and organize demonstrations," Edwan said
in a statement.
"The protesters as well as the police were
suprised to see a group wielding batons and attacking other protesters,
which led to the injury of several people," he added, saying the
government was committed to freedom of speech and assembly.
pro-government supporters denounced Arab broadcaster Al-Jazeera, blaming
it for spreading unrest across the Arab world. "Al-Jazeera is behind
every sickness," read some of their signs.
Bedouin Sheik Walid
al-Khatib joined the pro-government supporters, saying he had to come
out to profess his support for king and country.
"I love King
Abdullah and the stability of Jordan. I don't want this to ever change,"
About 300 protesters, including Bedouin tribesmen who
form the bedrock of support for the king, took to the streets of the
western town of Theiban. They demanded more freedoms and for the
government to hand over lands used for grazing sheep and farming that
were seized in the last century from nomads who settled areas without
Still, ordinary Jordanians such as Akhram Ismail, 50,
said citizens will not yet see an end to the protests.
government employee of 17 years, who earns a meager $140 per month, said
his salary was not enough to feed his six children and wants to see
changes to aid the poor.
"The government recently promised civil
servants a pay raise of $28, while politicians play with millions," he
Associated Press writer Jamal Halaby contributed
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