News / Middle East

Jordanians Politely Demand Reforms

Jordanian supporters of the Islamic Action Front carry a national flag as they shout slogans during a protest in Amman, Jordan, February 25, 2011
Jordanian supporters of the Islamic Action Front carry a national flag as they shout slogans during a protest in Amman, Jordan, February 25, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
Heather Murdock

Amid heavy security, thousands of protesters including the Muslim Brotherhood, youth groups and smaller political parties marched in Amman demanding government reforms and parliamentary elections.

As uprisings continue to threaten governments across the Middle East, Jordanian protesters took to the streets for the eighth week in a row on Friday, in what many believe to be their largest protest to date.

"The people demand an elected government," they shouted, before denouncing the recently fired prime minister, along with current Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit, both named by King Abdullah II. After Friday prayers, protesters, loosely divided into groups including Jordan’s largest opposition party, the Muslim Brotherhood, marched through downtown surrounded by thousands of police officers in what has become a weekly event.

But unlike violent clashes that have plagued many of the protests in the Arab World, and injured eight in Jordan last week, this Friday’s demonstrations were notably polite.

Police handed out juice boxes and bottled water, and protesters dispersed swiftly when the demonstration officially ended in the early afternoon. A cleaning crew in orange suits swept the streets, finding little trash had been left behind.

Despite the relative serenity of the Jordanian protests, activists say they are no less determined that their demands will be met. Activist Omar Abu Rasah said he is prepared to sleep on the streets until he has some kind of guarantee that Jordanians will be legally guaranteed elections and future liberties.

"We want an elected government," said Abu Rasah. "We want to give all the authorities for the people. Directly, something like a Magna Carta, as what happened in England. We are looking for these kind of changes now in Jordan."

Like most protesters, Abu Rasah said he supports the Jordanian monarchy, but wants to empower voters with legal reform, like the famed 13th Century Magna Carta that limits the power of the English monarchy and guarantees the rights of the people.

"We want to keep the kingdom, we want to keep the king, but we want the authority for the people," added Abu Rasah.

Protesters say they want swift investigations into corruption charges and economic reforms.  Jordani journalist Tariq al Hmedy said he has been covering the protests since they began two months ago, and they continue to grow. Al Hmedy said demonstrations have consistently drawn average working-class people, who live on $350 a month, or less, in what many say is the Middle East’s most expensive city.

But unlike past protests, al Hmedy said today’s demonstrations drew more of what are traditionally pro-government groups from outside the capital, Amman. These groups, he said, are now opposing the government and demanding their rights.

"It’s the first time people come from outside Amman, from the Bedouin, from outside Amman, from the other cities, and say ‘No, stop. We want to do something. We won’t allow for you to steal our money and steal our freedom,'" noted al Hmedy.

Protesters also say they want to stop soaring food prices, high taxes and nepotism. Since the protests began, King Abdullah has replaced his cabinet, appointed a new prime minister and promised wide-spread reforms. And even though activists hold pictures of the monarch and chant, "Abdullah we love you!" they still say the changes are not coming fast enough.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid