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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
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.

AppleAndroid