Middle East

Thousands call for sacking of government in Jordan

AMMAN: Thousands of Jordanians demonstrated 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,” read 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 sentenced to three years in jail for corruption. The government has allowed Shahin to travel to the U.S. for medical treatment, but he was spotted in a London restaurant in April, causing an outcry in Jordan.

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

Jordanians have been protesting since January to demand political and economic reforms. 

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on May 21, 2011, on page 9.

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