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Police disperses Islamist protesters ‘attempting to storm Prime Ministry’
Witnesses say police prevented protesters from blocking Fourth Circle
by Raed Omari | Dec 24, 2011 | 23:10 Updated: Dec 25, 2011 | 00:07
Police forces block Muslim Brotherhood protesters from entering the Prime Ministry during a demonstration in Amman on Saturday (Photo by Raad Adayleh)
AMMAN — Police used force on Saturday to disperse a rally by the Muslim Brotherhood after the Islamists allegedly tried to storm the Prime Ministry. 
Hundreds of members from the Islamist movement and activists from other groups held a protest in front of the Prime Ministry at the Fourth Circle yesterday, calling on the government to accelerate reforms and bring to justice all those involved in Friday’s attack against the group’s supporters in Mafraq, where anonymous persons carried out an arson attack on the Brotherhood’s headquarters in the northeastern town.
Eyewitnesses said yesterday that several members of the Islamist movement tried to break into the Prime Ministry compound, but the police intervened and prevented them from doing so.
Police Spokesperson Lt. Col. Mohammad Khatib was not available for comment.
However, Hamzah Mansour, secretary general of the Islamic Action Front (IAF), the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, denied that his group’s supporters tried to break into the Prime Ministry, insisting that police interfered as the protesters “advanced” towards the premises.
“We had no plans to attack the Prime Ministry. Some of us marched closer to the Prime Ministry premises but were blocked harshly by the Gendarmerie Forces who used batons,” Mansour said.   
Commenting on the Mafraq incident, Mansour claimed that tens of the movement’s members and supporters were injured by “thugs” who set fire to the IAF premises while “police and Civil Defence Department personnel did nothing to prevent the attack”.
Asked about yesterday’s IAF statement which warned against the emergence of armed groups in the country as a result of the “state’s inability” to protect its citizens, Mansour declined to elaborate. 
He said that “what happened in Mafraq is another proof of the government’s inability to protect peaceful demonstrations”.
The Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported yesterday that two protests were organised on Saturday near the Prime Ministry — one calling for accelerating reforms, combating corruption and compensating the Islamic Brotherhood for the damages from the attack, and another commending the government’s anti-corruption efforts and the progress achieved in the reform process.  
Thousands of Jordanians participated in public rallies in Mafraq, Tafileh and Jerash after noon prayers on Friday, voicing their allegiance to the Hashemite leadership and to Jordan.  
Al Rai’s Kayed Majali contributed to this report
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