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The New Arab Staff

Jordanian police suppress anti-lockdown protests using tear gas

Thousands of riot police were deployed to disperse protesters [AFP]

Date of publication: 16 March, 2021

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Hundreds protesters marched onto central Amman on Tuesday evening calling for an end to emergency Covid-19 legislation and for the government to resign
Jordanian police fired tear gas at anti-lockdown protesters as rallies erupted in pockets of the kingdom for the second consecutive day.

Four-hundred demonstrators marched on central Amman on Monday prompting riot police to disperse them with tear gas, AFP photographers at the scene reported.

Crowds chanted slogans calling for an end to emergency Covid-19 legislation and the resignation of the government headed by Prime Minister Bishr Al-Khasawneh.

Protesters, mostly young, burnt tires, and rubbish bins, while some threw stones at security forces.

Dozens more took to the streets in other Jordanian cities on Monday, including Madaba, 30km south-west of the capital, and Irbid, the country's second most-populated city.

Public anger is rife following the death of nine critically ill patients after medical workers allegedly neglected low oxygen supplies for two hours at a government hospital on Saturday.

The incident which triggered the resignation of the country's health minister.

Read also: Five staffers detained over Covid-19 deaths in Jordan hospital

Jordanian Twitter users remarked on the irony of authorities' use of tear gas versus their inability to provide adequate oxygen to Covid-19 patients, at a time where Jordan is struggling under its second wave of the virus.

Jordan recorded 9,417 new infections over 24 hours on Monday, marking the highest daily count in the kingdom since the pandemic began.

With thousands of riot police deployed to disperse protests, videos of the protests were shared widely on social media.

Authorities blocked certain Facebook applications allowing live broadcasting of the events, according to sources who spoke to Reuters.

Jordan's government released a statement before the protest on Monday defending its measures to control the virus, which include a night-time curfew in place from 7pm to 6am.

King Abdullah spoke on state media to say he understood protesters' frustration when it came to worsening living conditions. Jordan, like many countries, has suffered its worst recession in decades due to the pandemic.

But he warned against being swayed by dissidents, saying they sought "to sow internal strife".

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