Jordan clamps down on Arab Spring anniversary protests

Jordan police clamp down on protests marking ten year anniversary of Arab Spring
2 min read
25 March, 2021
Hundreds have been arrested in Jordan as protestors take to the streets to mark ten years since the Arab Spring uprisings.
Protests were calling for constitutional reforms [Getty-file]
Police in Jordan have broken up rallies and arrested hundreds of activists across the country as protesters marked ten years since the start of the Arab Spring. 

Despite a ban on protests, people took to the streets in Amman to mark the anniversary of the uprisings in the Arab World and attempted to reach the Dakhiliya roundabout amid heavy security.

Opposition groups in Jordan had called for protests seeking similar numbers to those in 2011. 

There are demands for amendments to the constitution, a new elections law, for the upper house to be dissolved, and for a defence law to be overturned. 

In anticipation of a large turnout, Jordanian authorities arrested nearly 200 activists in the days leading up to the planned protests. 

North of the capital in Irbid, police prevented protesters from reaching the site of a sit-in, closing all roads leading to the governorate building and arresting anyone trying to reach the site. 

"We need a constitution that fulfils the principle of the coexistence of authority and responsibility, and the principle of the people is the source of authorities through elected governments," Omar Abu Rasaa, a member of the executive office of the United Jordanian Movement, told Arabi21.

Writer Lamis Andoni said that the protests were to be expected, considering the policies of Jordan and the economic and political issues plaguing the country.

Read more: Jordan's parliamentary elections: New challenges, old expectations

"There are many decisions that have deepened the crisis. Economic reform cannot be separated from political reform. Therefore, neo-liberal policies that give priority to privatisation at the expense of the public sector, especially in the health and education sector, must be stopped," she told Arabi21.

Interior Minister Mazen Al-Faraya said that while the country was experiencing a health crisis related to the pandemic, protests would not be tolerated. 

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