Middle East unrest: Clashes erupt at Jordan protest
18 February 2011
Activists were attacked with sticks and stones, witnesses say
Protesters have clashed with government supporters in Jordan, where crowds had gathered to demand political reform.
Eyewitnesses said a small group of government supporters attacked the protesters with sticks and stones in central Amman.
The police moved in to separate the two groups, but activists say eight protesters were hurt in the scuffles.
Protests in Jordan, much smaller-scale than in other parts of the Middle East, have been going on for seven weeks.
The BBC's Dale Gavlak in Amman says it is the seventh Friday in a row that crowds have gathered after Friday prayers to urge economic and political reforms.
The demonstrators comprised mostly young people who were joined by trade unionists and others demanding to be able to elect their prime minister and cabinet officials, and urging economic reforms to help the poor.
Eyewitnesses said about 2,000 protesters turned out, though other reports said the number was about 300.
Economic grievances
Our correspondent says demonstrators took to the streets after prayers at the Husseini Mosque, and chanted: "It's not about bread, but dignity. We prefer death to humiliation."
A group of government supporters rallied behind them shouting: "With our blood and soul we sacrifice our lives to Abu Hussein [King Abdullah]."
The two groups were pressed against each other in a narrow street, and eyewitnesses say a small group of men attacked the activists with sticks and stones before the police restored order.
"A quarrel broke out between pro-government rally and another demonstration staged in the same location," police spokesman Mohamed Khatib told AFP news agency.
One protester, Muhannad Sahafiin, said he would continue to protest until change happens.
"We have to keep the pressure on this government. We are in the streets and we'll stay in the streets until we see all these demands working on the ground," he said.
Opposition groups in Jordan object to economic reforms introduced by Prime Minister Samir Rifai after he took office in November 2009.
The changes led to cuts in subsidies for basic commodities.
Jordan has a population of about six million. The official unemployment rate is 14%, though other estimates put it much higher, especially among the young.
Top Stories
Fears over US fuel shortage amid cyber-attack
The US acts to keep fuel flowing after its largest pipeline was hit by a ransomware cyber-attack.
6 hours ago
Fresh Jerusalem clashes ahead of nationalist march
2 hours ago
Mental health: Can you tell if someone is struggling?
7 hours ago
How Indian pilgrims became Covid super-spreaders
The tech helping emergency responders save lives
Seeking sanctuary for whale dubbed a Russian spy
How a scheme forged in war creates billionaires
Student who stood up to Hitler and inspires Germany
The forgotten wonder material that 'can withstand 75 nuclear blasts'
'Leaving prison after 68 years was like being born again'
A bizarre tale of cannabis boom and bust
Dead fish mystery in Lebanese lake
Elsewhere on the BBC
Football phrases
15 sayings from around the world
Most Read
Fears over US fuel shortage amid cyber-attack1
Scarlett Johansson joins Golden Globes backlash2
How Indian pilgrims became Covid super-spreaders3
Fresh Jerusalem clashes ahead of nationalist march4
Seven dead in shooting at Colorado birthday party5
Four injured in rare New Zealand stabbing attack6
Elon Musk reveals he has Asperger's7
Elon Musk's SpaceX to launch dogecoin moon mission8
Rescue operation to help whale stranded in Thames9
How a scheme forged in war creates billionaires10
BBC News Services
On your mobile
On smart speakers
Get news alerts
Contact BBC News
Terms of Use
About the BBC
Privacy Policy
Accessibility Help
Parental Guidance
Contact the BBC
Get Personalised Newsletters
Why you can trust the BBC
Advertise with us
AdChoices / Do Not Sell My Info
© 2021 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read about our approach to external linking.
BBC HomepageSkip to contentAccessibility HelpSign inHomeNewsSportReelWorklifeTravelFutureCultureMenuSearchHomeNewsSportReelWorklifeTravelFutureCultureMusicTVWeatherSounds
MenuHomeCoronavirusVideoWorldUS & CanadaUKBusinessTechScienceStoriesEntertainment & ArtsMoreHealthIn PicturesReality CheckWorld News TVNewsbeatLong ReadsWorldAfricaAsiaAustraliaEuropeLatin AmericaMiddle East