News / Middle East

Jordan Protests Take Aim at King

Protesters near Interior Ministry Square in Amman, Jordan shouted anti-government slogans on Wednesday. (Y. Weeks for VOA)
Protesters near Interior Ministry Square in Amman, Jordan shouted anti-government slogans on Wednesday. (Y. Weeks for VOA)
Setareh Sieg
Angry Jordanians, fed up with economic constraints that have led to higher gas prices, took their ire out on their king in recent days in mass protests - a rare public display against the monarchy.

The protests in Amman are of great concern to the West, where King Abdullah is widely seen as the guarantor of stability - not only in Jordan, but in the tense Middle East. Protestors have different concerns, however, according to political analyst Labib Kamyahi.

“The issue is the silent majority which is the crux of the opposition in Jordan. A lot of people are not happy and they are angry - they are secular -  and most of their resentments come from economic hardships and corruption in the country. Also people are very upset at - if they want to read the future it is doom and gloom,” said Kamyahi.

Related video by Elizabeth Arrott in Amman

Jordan Protests Take Aim at Kingi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Elizabeth Arrott
November 20, 2012 3:15 PM
Protesters in Jordan declared Friday a "day of rage" as anger sparked by a cut in fuel subsidies boiled over into a call for revolution. VOA's Elizabeth Arrott has more from the capital, Amman.

As political change has rolled through the Middle East, Western observers assumed Jordan would remain unaffected. Increasingly, that opinion seems short-sighted.

King Abdullah has fired four prime ministers in the last year and has backed an election law that reduces the independence and influence of opposition parties. His popularity is diminishing as popular protests grow.

The main problem is economic. These latest demonstrations were sparked by cuts in government subsidies for basic goods including gasoline - cuts demanded by the International Monetary Fund. Prices are rising quickly, plunging many Jordanians into economic crisis.

With Washington watching closely, the king has promised political reforms to mute internal criticism. But so far they have been little more than cosmetic.

“It’s like they swallowed the reform program initially and they produced it in a modified form that did not satisfy the ambition of the Jordanian people, especially when it comes to the two issues of corruption and democracy. On these two fronts the regime failed miserably,” said political analyst Labib Kamyahi.

And that failure has left the door open for the opposition Muslim Brotherhood, whose street level social programs have created a strong constituency among the poor. The government publicly calls them irrelevant, yet keeps a close watch.

The Deputy Head of the Muslim Brotherhood, Zaki Bani Rusheidi, said that group wants reform, not an overthrow of the regime - but warns that the Brotherhood cannot be ignored.

“We are for freedom of religion, opinion, pro-democracy. These are our demands, whether we are a majority or a minority in the parliament. The West’s interests lies with the people, not with dictators,” said Rusheidi.

Abdullah clearly is facing a growing backlash at home. And at a time of great upheaval in neighboring nations, there also is increased worry in the West about Jordan's future.

Photo Gallery: Jordan Protests

  • Muslims gathered for Friday prayer in central Amman, Jordan, November 16, 2012. (Y. Weeks/VOA)
  • Lead by the Muslim Brotherhood, protesters chanted anti-government slogans, taking on King Abdullah for the first time since the Arab Spring revolutions swept across the Arab world, Amman, Jordan, November 16, 2012. (Y. Weeks/VOA)
  • Jordan has been relatively insulated from the Arab Spring, but on Friday protesters called for the country's King Abdullah to step down, Amman, Jordan, November 16, 2012. (Y. Weeks/VOA)
  • Friday's protests were for the most part peaceful, though there were some skirmishes with Jordan's security forces, Amman, Jordan, November 16, 2012. (Y. Weeks/VOA)
  • At one point, protesters tried to break police lines on Friday but the two groups came to an understanding and the protests remained peaceful, Amman, Jordan, November 16, 2012. (Y. Weeks/VOA)
  • A small group of supporters of King Abdullah and the late King Hussein chanted from a distance at the larger crowd of anti-government protesters, Amman, Jordan, November 16, 2012. (Y. Weeks/VOA)

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Yamani from: Yemen
November 18, 2012 1:53 AM
sorry for error, I meant clever not cleaver


by: Yamani from: Yemen
November 17, 2012 3:53 AM
King of Jordan has to be cleaver and he should not behave just like Syria's president, he has to make immediate reforms that satisfy People of Jordan. Any delay is not preferable.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid