Friday, March 16, 2012

Jordan demonstrators want jailed activists freed

Jordanian King Abdullah II attends a meeting in Washington

Jordanians demonstrated on Friday against a "tight security grip," demanding the release of activists arrested this week after pro-reform protests in the southern city of Tafileh.

"No to the tight security grip and no to leniency in dealing with corruption," read a banner, as around 700 demonstrators who marched in central Amman streets.

"The authorities ignore the corrupt and arrest the activists. Targeting popular movements entrenches corruption," they chanted.

On Sunday, police arrested more than 20 people following demonstrations in Tafileh last week to demand the government introduce reforms and find jobs for youths in the southern city.

Military prosecutors have charged all of them with rioting and six with insulting King Abdullah II.

Opposition Islamists, trade unionists and leftists took part in Friday's protest, organised by the National Reform Front of former premier and intelligence chief Ahmad Obeidat.

Police broke up brief clashes between leftists and Islamists, who insisted on raising national flags during the demonstration. The leftists wanted to carry flags of their political parties.

Despite a heavy security presence, unknown assailants threw stones at the protesters from the tops of nearby buildings, but nobody was hurt, according to an AFP reporter.

Similar demonstrations took place in the northern city of Irbid as well as Karak, Tafileh and Theiban in the south, police said.

Jordanians have been protesting since January last year demanding sweeping political and economic reforms and an end to corruption.

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