Protesters want king’s power curtailed in Jordan

Thursday, February 17, 2011

TEHRAN - A group of demonstrators, including students, held protests in the Jordanian capital Amman, calling for constitutional and political reforms as well as limited powers for King Abdullah II, a media report said Thursday.

Jordanian scholars and students Wednesday gathered in the capital, demanding a parliamentary government and “true” economic reforms, Iran’s Press TV reported.

The protesters also held a “symbolic” sit-in outside the royal palace in the capital. They held banners reading, “The people want to form their own government”, and “Reform starts with the constitution”.

Jordanians also demonstrated in the northern city of Irbid Wednesday, demanding reforms and denouncing corruption.

Trade unionists, representatives from various political parties and women’s organisations participated in the demonstration to protest against poverty, oppression and corruption.

The demonstrations, inspired by the unrest in the Middle East, reflect growing discontent fuelled by the most serious domestic economic crisis in years and accusations of rampant government corruption. Abdullah has been among the leaders alarmed by the popular uprising that toppled Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak and Tunisia’s President Zine el Abidine ben Ali.

The protesters are also demanding change in the Jordanian constitution, which adopted in 1952 gives the king the exclusive power to appoint and dismiss the prime minister.

The Persian Gulf kingdom has recently witnessed several anti-government rallies against the government’s economic policies and the political situation in the country.

Meanwhile, Jordanian tribesmen, demanding return of their agricultural land the government took by force in the early 1980s, blocked the road to Amman’s international airport.

A member of the Bani Sakhr tribe claimed that the government had taken 2,200 hectares of land from the tribesmen to built the airport and has not compensated them.

Filed under: Politics

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