Sunday, March 27, 2011

Jordanians renew call for premier ouster

Jordanian protesters at the central square on March 25, 2011 in Amman, Jordan, Getty Images

Source: Press TV

The opposition to Jordan's government has renewed calls for the ouster of Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit amid violent crackdown on protesters which has left two people dead and many others injured.

"We demand the prime minister and intelligence chief [Mohammed Raqqad] quit," Firas Mahadin of the Youth of March 24 Movement stated at a news conference on Saturday.

"We have reached a point of no return," AFP quoted him as saying.

The leader of Islamic Action Front, the main opposition party, went on to say that the regime has carried out "crimes against humanity."

Trade unionists along with opposition politicians have joined the youth movement.

The opposition began a protest camp at the Interior Circle in Gamal Abdel Nasser Square in the capital Amman on Thursday, March 24.

Their camp was attacked by around 200 pro-regime loyalists, who assaulted protesters with rocks and stones, on Thursday night. The loyalists then raided the camp after police cut the power supply to the square, killing two and injuring at least 130 others, three of them remain in critical condition.

Riot police arrested several protesters and used water cannons to break up the camp on Friday.

Police chief Hussein Majali said a protester -- 55-year-old Khairy Saad Jamil -- has died of a heart attack. Jamil's son, however, insists that his father had suffered several blows to his body. The family now refuses to bury Jamil until Interior Minister Saad Srur quits and security officials are fired.

Srur, who accuses the opposition of seeking to create chaos in the country, says an investigation has been launched to determine who's responsible for the violence.

Friday's unrest in Amman was the second of its kind since protests erupted in the country three months ago. Jordan's opposition wants political reforms including those that would strip King Abdullah II of some of his powers, specifically in appointing the prime minister.

Jordan's king, who has already offered a series of concessions to end the protests, has reportedly called for an early election by the end of 2011.

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