Posts Tagged ‘ Breeze Uprisings ’

Demonstration in Jordan in support of Syria’s anti-Assad protests

May 21, 2011

Amman – Hundreds of Syrians living in Jordan staged a demonstration outside the United Nations office in Amman on Saturday, in support of protesters in Syria calling for the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad.

They crowd held up placards and chanted slogans against al-Assad, calling for and end to his leadership and security crackdown on protests in Syria.

Meanwhile, Jordanian media reported that the government had asked the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood movement, whose leaders have been given refuge in the country, to stop protests outside the Syrian embassy in Amman.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II, who ended a visit to the United States earlier this week, has reportedly asked US President Barack Obama to give al-Assad ‘a chance’ to implement the reforms that protesters are demanding.

Authorities on Friday prevented hundreds of Jordanians from demonstrating near Ramtha and in support of protesters across the border in the Syrian city of Daraa.

Source: Monsters and Critics.


Biggest Protest in Tafileh calling for political, economic reforms


By Wael Jaraysheh

AMMONNEWS – A major demonstration on Friday took place in the southern governorate of Tafileh, with residents calling for genuine economic and political reforms.

The protest is the biggest of its kind in the governorate (180 km south of Amman) in years, organized by local residents without any official participation of political parties or civil society organizations.

The demonstrators marched from the Grand Tafileh Mosque towards the governorate building, calling for the ouster of the government and accusing it of “slacking” in implementing reform measures directed by King Abdullah II.

Protestors also called for dissolving the parliament, fighting corruption, and blasted the “security grip” in handling populist activism.

Activist Muhammad Salem Al Arwan said in a speech during the demonstration that Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit has been “procrastinating” in the past two months by presenting to people “failed projects.”

He criticized the government’s handling of Khalid Shaheen, the business tycoon convicted of bribery last year and allowed to travel abroad under the pretext of seeking medical treatment, and demanded government clarification of the incident.

“There will be no real reform, because the corrupt cannot hold other corrupt individuals accountable,” he added.

Retired military official Owdeh Sawalqah criticized the marginalization of Tafileh governorate by successive governments, and called on protestors to demand the ouster of the governor.

He also blasted the government’s privatization program, charging that the government has “sold” the important resources of Jordan to the benefit of elite businessman and corrupt officials.

The lack of security presence during the demonstration was noticeable, in comparison to demonstrations on Friday in Amman and other governorates.

Source: Ammon News.

Jordanians want ‘corrupt, oppressive’ govt sacked

May 20, 2011

AMMAN — Thousands of Jordanians demonstrated on Friday across the kingdom, calling for regime reforms as well as the sacking of what they called the “corrupt and oppressive” government.

“The people want to reform the regime and end tyranny. No to corruption,” around 2,500 Islamists and trade unionists chanted as they marched from the King Abdullah Mosque in central Amman to a roundabout near the interior ministry.

“Reform starts with combating corruption and the corrupt,” reads a banner carried by the demonstrators.

Muslim Brotherhood chief Hammam Said, who took part in the march, said “we are sending a message to King Abdullah II that reform plans should be accelerated in line with popular demands.”

“The regime and government are not serious about reforms,” he told AFP.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, the Islamic Action Front, accused Prime Minister Maaruf Bakhit’s government of corruption.

“The government is corrupt and oppressive. Reform is inevitable, and rulers have two choices: adopt reforms or quit,” Zaki Bani Rsheid, leader of the IAF political office, told the crowds.

In the southern city of Tafileh, around 1,500 demonstrated against corruption, calling for the “downfall of the government.”

“Who are the partners of Khaled Shahin,” they chanted, referring to a top Jordanian businessman who have been sentenced to three years in jail for corruption.

The government has allowed Shahin to travel to the United States for medical treatment, but he was spotted in a London restaurant in April, which caused an outcry in Jordan.

Also, in Karak, near Tafileh, hundreds of people demonstrated after midday weekly prayers, urging “punishment of the corrupt.”

Jordanians have been protesting since January to demand political and economic reforms as well as more efforts to fight corruption.

Copyright © 2011 AFP. All rights reserved.

Thousands across Jordan protest corruption, reform delay

May 20, 2011

Amman – Thousands took to the streets in Amman and other major Jordanian cities after Friday prayers to protest what demonstrators saw as the government’s failure to fight corruption and the delay in adopting political and economic reforms.

Protesters in particular called for the resignation of Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit’s government and the dissolution of the lower house of parliament.

At least two demonstrations were organized in Amman by the Islamic-led opposition and trade unions to protest police use of force Sunday to disperse hundreds of activists trying to reach the Israel-controlled border with the West Bank to express support for Palestinian refugees’ right to return to their homes in Israel.

At least 25 people, including 11 policemen and a number of journalists, were injured in the clashes that were condemned by the country’s main media establishments.

A demonstration was also organized Friday near the Israeli embassy in the neighborhood of Rabia, with participants calling for the closure of the Israeli diplomatic mission and the abrogation of the peace treaty Jordan concluded with the Jewish state in 1994.

In Tafileh, 180 kilometers south of Amman, hundreds of demonstrators chanted slogans and raised placards urging Bakhit to resign, saying he had failed to adopt the required reforms as tasked by King Abdullah II, witnesses said.

Rallies were also reported in the city of Zarqa, 30 kilometers east of Amman, and in Karak, 120 kilometers south of the capital.

Demonstrators criticized the government for allowing the departure from the country of prominent businessman Khalid Shahin, who was serving three years in jail after the State Security Court found him guilty of bribery in connection with a petroleum refinery expansion deal.

The sharp rise in the number of demonstrations on Friday came after a lull of three weeks to give the government time to adopt the demanded political reforms, foremost the drafting of new laws for elections and political parties, organizers said.

Source: Monsters and Critics.

Renewed Protests in Amman Blast Corruption


By Banan Malkawi

AMMONNEWS – Hundreds of Jordanians on Friday protested in central Amman against government corruption and called for genuine political and economic reforms.

The demonstration, organized by political opposition parties, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Jordanian Professional Associations, marched from King Abdullah I Mosque to the Interior Ministry Circle, chanting anti-corruption slogans and accusing the government of “slacking” in implementing reform measures.

Over 1,500 protestors marched amidst heavy security presence, and were blocked from reaching the Interior Ministry Circle, where major clashes had taken place on March 24th during a youth sit-in, leaving over 100 injured and one protestor dead.

Friday witnessed several major protests throughout Jordan, calling for reforms and blasting government and security forces’ violent handling of pro-reform demonstrations last week.

Other protests also took place near the Israeli Embassy in Amman calling for annulling the Jordanian-Israeli peace process, and others in Karak, Tafileh, and Zarqa governorates.

Muslim Brotherhood leader Zaki Bani Ersheid blasted that the widespread economic corruption in the country is caused by political corruption, leading to the loss of trust and confidence in the government.

He stressed that tangible reform cannot materialize unless powers are given to the people.

Bani Ersheid criticized US President Barack Obama’s speech delivered on Thursday, blasting that the American administration is the “power that gives international legitimacy, enables corruption, and creates corrupt governments in the region.”

In referring to the “Arab Spring,” the Islamist leader applauded the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, and addressed Arab leaders warning “you either implement reform, or be ousted.”

On his part, Head of the Jordanian Engineers’ Professional Associations Abdullah Obeidat noted that the demands of the Jordanian people are legitimate and that what “we ask for here is much less than what peoples of other countries are demanding.”

He stressed that the regime and the government ought to respect the people, blasting that “we were surprised that the government did indeed implement reforms; however they were security reforms.”

“An opposition activist used to be taken to a jail cell and beaten there, now, activists are being beaten by security forces publicly in the streets,” he added.

Obeidat charged that the widespread corruption in the country has transformed Jordanians in both the public and private sectors into a deprived and poor society that is facing grave economic conditions.

An activist in the March 24th Youth Movement, Abdul Rahman Hassanain, said that the movement is preparing for a major demonstration that would surpass the sit-in two months ago at Gamal Abdul Nasser Square (Interior Ministry Circle).

Senior Muslim Brotherhood leader Hammam Saeed told Ammon News during the protest that the movement is part of the Jordanian society and that their protest today is part of the popular demands all Jordanians are demanding.

“We do not act individually, our activism is part and parcel of the demands of the Jordanian street,” he added.

The protestors chanted slogans against corruption, and calling for freedom, reform, and change.

Chants included:

“Change and reform are the demands of the people,”

“Freedom where are you, the government stands between us and you,”

“The people demand saving the economy.”

* Additional reporting by Shaheera Khatatbeh and Heba Malkawi

Source: Ammon News.

Syrian activists call general strike in new tactic

May 18, 2011

BEIRUT: Syrian protesters have called for a one-day nationwide general strike, urging students to skip school and workers to bring commerce to a halt in a new strategy of defiance against government crackdowns that appear to be turning more brutal and bloody.

The strike, planned for Wednesday, marks a shift by opposition forces to strike at President Bashar Assad’s regime from new angles: its economic underpinnings and ability to keep the country running during two months of widening battles.

A sweeping popular acceptance of the strike call would be an embarrassing blow to Assad and show support for the uprising in places, such as central Damascus, where significant protests have yet to take hold and security forces have choked off the few that have taken place.

“It will be a day of punishment for the regime from the free revolutionaries … Massive protests, no schools, no universities, no stores or restaurants and even no taxis.

Nothing,” said a statement posted on the main Facebook page of the Syrian Revolution 2011.

The strike call came as the United States and European Union planned new sanctions against the Syrian leadership.

In Washington, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton told reporters that the tighter measures could be imposed in the coming days.

Meanwhile, watchdog groups and Syrians fleeing into neighboring Lebanon added to the accounts of violence.

A Syrian rights activist, Mustafa Osso, said government agents chased and beat students taking part in a protest against Assad’s regime at a university in Aleppo, Syria’s second-largest largest city. Security officials in Lebanon said at least 170 people entered the country Tuesday, including a 2-year-old girl with a shrapnel wound in her chest.

Syrians pouring over the Lebanon border in recent days have described horrific scenes of execution-style slayings and bodies in the streets in the western town of Talkalakh, which has been reportedly encircled by security forces.

Osso, head of the Kurdish Organization for the Defense of Human Rights and Public Freedoms in Syria, said there were reports of gunfire in Talkalakh on Tuesday, but it was not clear whether there were injuries.

At least 16 people — eight of them members of the same family — have been killed in recent days in Talkalakh, a town of about 70,000 residents, witnesses and activists said.

Syria’s official news agency said eight soldiers and policemen were killed Tuesday and five others were wounded while pursuing fugitives in Talkalakh and nearby areas. The report said security forces arrested several fugitives and confiscated a large amount of weapons.

Syria’s top rights organization has said that the crackdown by Assad has killed more than 850 people since protests erupted in mid-March in the most serious threat to his family’s 40-year dynasty. Thousands of others have been detained.

A pro-democracy activist in the central city of Homs expressed support for the nationwide strike, calling it “the only way to hurt the regime without putting people’s lives at risk.” But the activist, speaking by phone to The Associated Press, doubted the response would be big.

“The majority of businessmen and merchants are either supportive of the regime or fear for the businesses. They have too much to lose,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

Anthony Skinner, an analyst at Maplecroft, a British-based risk analysis company, said he expected the current conflict to become even more protracted and bloody.

“Although the crackdown has failed to snuff out dissent, protests have also not gained sufficient momentum to overextend the armed forces,” he said.

On Tuesday, the National Organization for Human Rights said in a statement that at least 41 people were killed in the past five days in the villages of Inkhil and Jassem near the southern city of Daraa, where the rebellion took root.

Ammar Qurabi, the head of the human rights organization, also said a “mass grave” with 24 bodies, and another containing seven bodies including a father and his four sons, were discovered in Daraa on Monday. Calls to Daraa on Tuesday seeking to verify the reports were unsuccessful.

International rights watchdog Amnesty International urged Syrian authorities to carry out a prompt, impartial investigation into reports of the graves.

“If true, these reports of multiple corpses buried in a makeshift grave show an appalling disregard for humanity,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa director.

A Syrian Interior Ministry official dismissed the reports about a mass grave in Daraa as “completely baseless.” The unnamed official, quoted by state-run news agency SANA, said Tuesday that the “allegations came in the context of the campaign of provocation, slander and fabrication” against Syria.

The official said an “armed terrorist group” opened fire on a police vehicle near Homs, killing two policemen and wounding four others, including an army officer.

Assad has blamed the unrest on armed thugs and foreign agitators. He also has played on fears of sectarian strife to persuade people not to demonstrate, saying chaos would result.

Source: Arab News.

The Jordanian street and the pro-democracy protests

WARNING: Article contains propaganda!

* * * * *


Yalla Peace: True democracy will not come to the Hashemite Kingdom before a Palestinian state is created.

As citizens across the Arab world have risen in protest against decades of dictatorship in Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and Syria, one might ask why the same hasn’t happened in Jordan?

In all the other countries, the protests seem to share a major characteristic. The governments reflect an element of the population’s religious or tribal minorities, while the protesters have been left out of power. Libya’s troubles are more tribal, Syria’s are more tribal and religious, and Egypt’s troubles are a combination of religious and secular rivalries.

In Libya, dictator Col. Muammar Gaddafi comes from one of the country’s 140 tribes. The war in Libya is a civil war, fueled in large part by the interference of Western powers, including NATO and the US.

The NATO-American alliance was not hesitant to arm and protect the protesters in Libya, while the same Western powers sat back and watched as Egypt’s dictator Hosni Mubarak was slowly pushed from power.

Egypt’s future remains uncertain. It’s a nation made up of several power bases, the largest including secular Muslims, Orthodox Coptic Christians and religious Muslims under the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood was not behind the protests there, and neither were the Coptic Christians. But once Mubarak was removed from office and a military junta took control, the divisions were quickly highlighted by friction. Today, the Coptic Christians are under siege, and their future in Egypt remains uncertain.

In Syria, the ruling regime is controlled by the Alawis or Alawites, a mystical minority branch of Islam that is closer to the Shi’ites than to the Sunnis. Sunni Muslims are the more dominant in the Arab world. The Shi’ites in the region are predominantly Persian, and closer to Iran.

The majority of the Syrian population are Sunnis, although there is a substantial Christian community there too.

But the religious sects are more tribal in Syria, making Bashar Assad and his Alawite minority which control the government an easier target. Bashar’s father, Hafez Assad took control of Syria in a coup in 1970, following rising protests from the Alawite community against the Sunni Muslim and Christian governments.

Jordan is unlike any of the others. The Jordanian people are mainly Beduin Arabs. Jordan was created from the Fertile Crescent lands of Syria and Palestine, occupied by the Allies after World War I. Palestine was divided into two areas, Trans-Jordan to the East of the river and Palestine to the West. This was based on the British decision to limit Jewish migration to Palestine.

The 1948 war pushed more than 750,000 Palestinian refugees into Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Gaza came under Egyptian control, and the West Bank came under Jordanian control.

The 1967 war pushed more Palestinians, including 1948 refugees, into Jordan. Today, it has about two million Palestinians. Most have become Jordanian citizens, with only 167,000 remaining in refugee camps. That explains Jordan’s dilemma.

The relationship between the Jordanian and Palestinian Arabs has always been tenuous.

While the rest of the Arab world opposed the partition of Palestine, Jordan’s King Abdullah I favored it. In fact, King Abdullah had grand visions of a Greater Arabia to include Iraq, Palestine and Syria (where his brother Faisal had once served as king, but was ousted by the French). Faisal later became king of Iraq.

King Abdullah I was assassinated by a Palestinian when he visited the al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem in 1951.

The Jordanian-Palestinian populations live in a forced political detente in Jordan. Jordanian Arabs are deathly loyal to the monarchy. The vast majority will not rebel against King Abdullah II, fearing that the country will come under Palestinian control.

Jordan’s monarchs have also been more Western, and have allowed a greater sense of democracy to exist, even though the government is controlled by the king himself and ruled by a parliament subject to the king’s whims.

There have been some protests, but they are inhibited by this population balance. And Jordan’s king has the strongest Western backing of any Arab regime. True democracy will not come to a significant part of Jordan’s population, at least not before a Palestinian state is created, and with those Palestinians in Jordan given the choice to live there.

That’s why there are no pro-democracy protests in Jordan.

Source: The Jerusalem Post.