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Monday, July 25, 2011     FOR YOUR EYES ONLY

Jordan opts for 'democratic way' in response
to demonstrations

AMMAN — Jordan, facing rising unrest, has ordered security forces to demonstrate restraint in dealing with peaceful protests.


Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit ordered security commanders to allow peaceful protests in the Hashemite kingdom. Bakhit, in a meeting with commanders, said the government would also prepare for a free media.

"They [security forces] must act in a civilized and democratic way to portray Jordan's bright image," Bakhit said.

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In the July 21 meeting, the prime minister was quoted as telling police commanders that security forces must protect peaceful protesters, Middle East Newsline reported. He said police and other security forces were deployed in 2,200 marches, demonstrations and other protests throughout Jordan since January.

The meeting came amid rising unrest by Jordan's Islamic opposition. The Islamist movement has demanded a reduction in the authority of King Abdullah, including his mandate to appoint governments.

In an unprecedented move, Bakhit ordered an investigation into a police attack on journalists at a demonstration in downtown Amman on July 15. At least nine journalists were reported injured in the assault, which took place outside Amman City Hall.

"No to government intimidation, oppression and terrorizing of the press," about 300 Jordanians chanted in a march in downtown Amman on July 22.

Interior Minister Mazen Saket was said to have received orders to stop police brutality. Lt. Gen. Hussein Majali, head of the Public Security Department Chief, was also briefed on the new arrangements.

"More time is needed for further investigation and to determine those who beat the demonstrators and journalists," a police statement said regarding the investigation into the police assault.

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