Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Jordan Facing Violent Demonstrations, Demands for Change

From Arutz Sheva, 28 March 2011, by Chana Ya'ar:

Jordan is facing violent demonstrations and political protests that have the potential to destabilize the country...On Sunday, the Jordanian parliament voted to make sure there would be no legislative challenge to the king's authority.

...A demonstration in Amman last Friday by the grassroots “March 24 Youth” activist group demanded the government dissolve the lower house of the parliament and reform the constitution...But the rally ended in violence as supporters of King Abdullah II hurled rocks at the demonstrators. At least 30 were injured. Meanwhile, some 10,000 demonstrators rallied in support of the king in a parallel protest.

The violence was followed by the resignations of 21 of the 53 members of the National Dialogue Committee established by King Abdullah II to sooth tensions in the kingdom. Reformist protesters also blamed the government for allowing the king's supporters to beat them.

Three Islamist members who were appointed to the new committee refused to participate in deliberations over amendments to the Elections Law and Political Parties Law, unless constitutional amendments were on the agenda as well.

The committee did not bend to the will of the Islamists, and in general, the government has thus far ignored most demands for reforms with the exception of reshuffling the cabinet, and creating the new committee.

However, Jordanian journalists are reporting that tensions are rising in the Hashemite Kingdom.

“Concern is no longer the correct description for the situation we are going through over the past days. There is a sense that the situation may explode at any moment,” wrote Fahed Al-Khitan, political columnist in the Al-Arab Al-Yawm.

Jordan, located on Israel's eastern-most border, was the second Arab nation to sign a peace treaty with the Jewish State and has long been a partner with Israel in numerous business, scientific and other regional projects.
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