Calm restored in Mafraq after Friday clashes
Reported by Hani Hazaimeh | Dec 25,2011 | 22:49
Protesters from pro-reform youth movements and the Muslim Brotherhood gather in front of the Prime Ministry on Saturday to protest against Friday’s attack on the Islamists’ headquarters in Mafraq (Photo by Ra’ad Adayleh)
AMMAN — Calm returned to Mafraq on Saturday after a Friday of clashes between Bani Hassan tribesmen and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood in which the movement's headquarters in the northeastern city was set on fire.
Dozens of people from both groups suffered minor injuries, as well as Public Security Department (PSD) Director Lt. Gen. Hussein Majali, who suffered bruises to his face and shoulders, according to PSD Spokesperson Lt. Col. Mohammad Khatib.
No investigation has been opened into the incident, the police official said, as neither party has registered an official complaint.
In the meantime, Mafraq tribal leaders and the Islamist movement traded accusations of responsibility for the violence that took place on Friday afternoon.
A press statement signed by several tribal leaders on Saturday blamed the Muslim Brotherhood for insisting on holding their demonstration in Mafraq despite repeated pleas from the governorate’s residents to cancel the activity.
"You have challenged us and insisted on holding your demonstration in our city and now you have to bear the consequences," the statement said.
In response, the Islamists insisted that their demonstration was peaceful and only aimed at pushing for speedier reforms and anti-corruption measures. They also blamed the authorities for not doing their duty in protecting the demonstrators.
The movement also distributed a statement to the media describing Friday’s incident as "a very serious official message".
"What happened can only be attributed to two possibilities. One is that the government and its security agencies have become unable to enforce the law and protect citizens from thugs, and this will take the country into a dark tunnel and utter chaos," the statement read.
The second possibility, the statement added, was that the police present at the scene when the violence started were in complicity with the "anarchist thugs and ignorant people" who attacked the demonstrators.
"In both possibilities, the repercussions will be very serious as it represents a call to the public to take responsibility for defending themselves and their property and paves the way for the formation of armed groups," the movement warned, calling on the government to hold accountable whoever was behind the assault against the peaceful demonstration and the ensuing riots.
Several other pro-reform demonstrations were held on Friday in Amman, Aqaba and Karak, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.
Several popular and youth movements participated in a peaceful march in Amman during which they called for expediting reform and fighting corruption, while also raising concerns over rising prices.
In Karak, participants in a peaceful rally called for better management and exploitation of mineral resources, reexamining the privatisation programme, and holding corrupt public figures accountable.
In Aqaba, dozens of Islamists demonstrated after Friday’s noon prayers in front of the Grand Mosque, calling for the return of land parcels in Aqaba that they claimed were sold to investors for almost nothing.
Jordan will play for gold when they meet Bahrain in the football competition at the Pan-Arab Games in Doha on Friday. Full story