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

TEXT SIZE - +
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

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest 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.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid