News / Middle East

Tunisia Unrest Inspires Jordan Protesters

Jordanian protesters hold a giant national flag, as they march during a protest demanding the resignation of the prime minister and his government over price increases and inflation, in Amman, 21 Jan 2011
Jordanian protesters hold a giant national flag, as they march during a protest demanding the resignation of the prime minister and his government over price increases and inflation, in Amman, 21 Jan 2011

Multimedia

Luis Ramirez

Demonstrators in Jordan say they are preparing for more protests.  Massive demonstrations inspired by unrest in Tunisia have shaken what historically has been one of the most stable nations in the Middle East and raised questions about the future role of the country's popular monarch.

Some protesters in last Friday's demonstration waved pieces of bread.  

It is rising food prices, unemployment, and anger over corruption that prompted thousands to take to the streets of Amman last week.

One of them was 28-year-old Sufian Sabri el Euheide, who lives at the Baqa'a Palestinian refugee camp outside Amman.

El Euheide is a day laborer who spends many of his days going through newspapers, looking for a permanent job to support his wife and two children.  He blames what he says is a corrupt system for his problems.


He says he works for two weeks and sits for another two weeks, trying to find odd jobs in construction.

Like many of the protesters, he is encouraged by events in Tunisia.

He says he liked what he saw in Tunisia, where he said the will of the people brought about changes.

El Euheide and other demonstrators say they do not seek a revolution, but want political reforms.  They say they want to be able to elect their prime minister, rather than have someone appointed by King Abdullah.

It is a rare challenge to a political system dominated by the king, who rules as an absolute monarch with the power to elect ministers, rule by decree and dismiss parliament.

The king remains popular and many protesters say their actions are not against him, but against the system over which he presides.

The demonstrations have drawn various segments of society, including left-wing activists and Islamists whose relations with the monarchy have become more strained.  

Hamza Mansour heads the Islamic Action Front, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan.  He has been among those leading the calls for democratic reforms, which he says should bring about a gradual transformation in Jordan.

Mansour says his message is that there should be reforms, a democratic state, and a redistribution of power.  He says the goal of his movement is to end corruption, including what he calls "moral corruption."

The protests have taken place with government approval and protesters say they intend to keep the demonstrations peaceful.  

Sufian Sabri el Euheide says there are some parallels to Tunisia in regard to unemployment and corruption, but he says Jordan's decision to allow protests makes this situation, at least for now, different.

El Euheide  says Jordan is different from Tunisia, which he says was a dictatorship.  He says that here, people are given an outlet to protest.  That, he says, allows there to be hope for peaceful change.

The Jordanian government has taken emergency measures to quell the unrest, including pay raises for public servants and a drop in the prices of basic goods.

For now by many accounts, the king's popularity is not in question.  However, analysts say that could change quickly.

Nahid Hattar is a commentator with the newspaper Al Arab Al Youm.  He says the outcome of the protests will depend on the king himself.  He says that if the king responds to the demands of the people in a meaningful way and deals effectively with corruption, the matter will be resolved.

Hattar says the palace now has an opportunity to make a difference, which, he says, could be "the one before the last."  

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid