Archive for November 10th, 2011

Clashes erupt at pro-reform protest in Jordan

15 Jul 2011

Several people injured as police use batons to break up anti-government demonstration in Amman.

At least 10 people have been injured amid efforts by police to stop clashes between demonstrators and government supporters in the center of the Jordanian capital, Amman.

Police used batons on Friday to disperse people outside city hall, beating and injuring nine journalists.

The clashes took place after about 2,000 people, including Islamists and youth groups, marched from the city’s Al-Husseini mosque to the city hall.

An Al Jazeera correspondent and several other journalists, including a Reuters cameraman, said they were attacked by police.

The wounded included an AFP photographer and a female activist.

Al Jazeera’s Nisreen El Shamayleh, reporting from the scene of the clashes, said: “The protesters were attacked by riot police and public security personnel at the beginning of the sit-in that they were planning to hold at Al Nakheel Square.

“They weren’t allowing the protesters to enter [the square] and that is when the clashes started.

“Only after the clashes began and several people were injured that they allowed people to [begin the sit-in].”

Fahim Karim, a New York Times reporter, was beaten by 10 policemen while a photographer who works for another international news agency said he was ordered by police not to shoot the scene.

Protesters’ accounts

One protester told Al Jazeera: “During the march the security forces attacked us. We had to make for the women to escape the assault as one woman had already passed out.

Another said he was kicked in the stomach by one of the royal guards while trying to protect “the women in the march”.

Besides Amman, rallies for reform and against “rampant corruption” also took place in Tafileh, Man and Karak in the country’s south, and in Irbid and Jerash in the north.

Our correspondent said there is a definite feeling in Jordan that there is no serious motivation to implement real and true democratic reforms in the country.

Jordan has faced a protest movement demanding political and economic reforms and an end to corruption, since January.

Security forces have previously prevented demonstrators demanding the removal of the government, but not King Abdullah, who appoints the cabinet and has wide powers, from assembling at main squares.

The clampdown appears to have been prompted by fears of mass crowds as seen in Egypt and Tunisia where long-serving leaders were overthrown earlier this year.

Source: al-Jazeera.

“Come on, leave Bashar”

July 14, 2011

He composed straightforward tunes and sang colloquial lyrics against the Syrian regime, attacking President Bashar Al-Assad, his brother Maher and the ruling Syrian Baath Party. The songs were taken up by hundreds of thousands of demonstrators gathered in the city of Hama, causing more protesters to take to the streets and making his songs the slogans of anti-regime protesters across the country.

Ibrahim Qashush, the “mocking bird of the Syrian Revolution,” as his fans preferred to call him, led the protests in Hama’s Al-Assi Square on the “Friday of Departure” at the beginning of July, improvising lyrics that added to the enthusiasm of the protesters. The songs will have appealed particularly to residents of Hama, where there is a tradition of group singing, the protesters being passionate about Qashush’s songs and his striking voice.

It was this voice and these songs that apparently so disturbed the Syrian regime that it decided to silence him.

Qashush, a young man in his 30s, was kidnapped on a street in Hama on 3 July as he headed to work. The next day, his body was found in the local river, his throat cut and larynx removed after signs of brutal torture.

City residents and Syrian human rights groups say that security agents tortured and killed Qashush before removing his larynx and dumping his body into the river as an act of revenge for songs that had attacked senior figures in the regime, among them Al-Assad.

Shortly before his death, Qashush sang, “Bashar, you are not one of us; / take Maher and leave us; / your legitimacy is no longer recognized by us; / come on, leave Bashar. / Maher, you coward, / agent of the Americans, / the people of Syria cannot be disrespected; /come on, leave, Bashar. / We want rid of Bashar. / with our powerful might, / Syria wants freedom. / Syria wants freedom.”

In response to Qashush’s death, protesters dedicated more than 12 Facebook pages, variations on “We are all the Martyr Ibrahim Qashush”, or “We will not forget you, Ibrahim”, to the singer’s memory, and within days they had thousands of followers. The online encyclopaedia Wikipedia has also dedicated a page to Qashush focusing on the latter part of his life.

Fans of the singer said that they would continue what Qashush had started by continuing to chant for freedom in Syria’s cities, even if they too risked death by doing so. Songs by Qashush were sung during protests on last week’s “Friday of No to Dialogue”, and demonstrators in several Arab and European cities picketed Syrian embassies this week to protest against his death.

Syrian authorities claim that “unknown assailants” were responsible for Qashush’s death, saying that the singer was in fact an informer and that he was killed in order to incite further anti-regime protests.

Before the uprising in Syria began earlier this year, Qashush had been just another ordinary young man. However, the popular protests that have swept the country over recent months led him to be active in leading demonstrations calling for the overthrow of the regime and the ousting of Al-Assad.

According to Hama residents, Qashush was murdered by the regime as a punishment for his song “Come on, leave Bashar.”

By Bassel Oudat

Source: Uruknet.