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

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap 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.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid