Last Updated: Fri May 11, 2012 21:58 pm (KSA) 18:58 pm (GMT)

Jordan protesters demand ‘radical’ reform, slam gov’t

Jordan has seen relatively small but persistent Arab Spring-inspired demonstrations almost every week since January 2011 to demand sweeping reforms. (Reuters)
Jordan has seen relatively small but persistent Arab Spring-inspired demonstrations almost every week since January 2011 to demand sweeping reforms. (Reuters)

More than 1,000 Jordanians, mostly opposition Islamists, demonstrated on Friday demanding elected governments and “radical” reforms, and criticizing newly appointed Prime Minister Fayez Tarawneh.

Marching in central Amman after midday prayers, the protesters, including youths and trade unionists, carried banners reading “we want to reform the regime, radical change and elected governments.”

“Fayez (Tarawneh) go home, you are not up to reform. We want to determine our own fate,” they chanted as they waved national flags.

King Abdullah II has tasked Tarawneh, who formed his cabinet earlier this month, with reforming laws needed to hold early elections this year, but the Islamists and analysts say he is too conservative.

“The regime is backing off from reform and seeking to return to pre-Arab Spring mentality,” Jamil Abu Baker, spokesman of Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood, told the demonstration.

“This means that the regime has failed to meet requirements for development. The people need a national salvation government.”

The protesters criticized Tarawneh for his role in negotiations with Israel that led to the signing of the 1994 peace treaty, and torched the Jewish state’s flag.

“Dear prisoners in Zionist jails, letting you down is corruption,” read a banner they carried, while dozens of teenagers wore white t-shirts with the sentence “I support inmates in occupation prisons” written on them.

Around 1,600 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails are currently refusing food in a wide-ranging protest against solitary confinement, detention without charge and restrictions on family visits, education and various privileges.

The protestors also condemned the detention of a local news website editor, who was charged last month with incitement after publishing a report on a graft probe into a $7 billion housing project.

“We demand freedom for journalist Jamal Muhtaseb. No reforms without freedom of the press,” they chanted.

Muhtaseb was arrested and charged after a report on his website quoted an unnamed lawmaker as claiming “lower house deputies had received royal directives not to indict a former minister for alleged graft.”

Jordan has seen relatively small but persistent Arab Spring-inspired demonstrations almost every week since January 2011 to demand sweeping reforms.

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