Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Jordan king's motorcade attacked

In this photo released by the Jordanian Royal Palace, King Abdullah II (center top) greets people during his visit to Tafileh city, June 13, 2011.

Source: Press TV

The motorcade of the Jordan king has been attacked while he was on an official tour in the southern city of Tafileh, a security official says.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the security official said King Abdullah II was unharmed in the Monday incident but 25 police officers were injured, one of them seriously.

"(The rear) part of King Abdullah II's motorcade was attacked with stones and empty bottles by a group of men in their 20s and 30s after the king's car entered Tafileh," the official said, adding that the motorcade changed its route following the attack.

The royal court and the Jordanian government, however, have denied the report that the monarch was the target of the violence in the southern town, saying angry young Jordanians attacked anti-riot police guarding the motorcade of King Abdullah II.

"It is absolutely groundless. Footage taken during the visit to Tafileh proves that," a court official told AFP.

"The motorcade of his majesty the king was not attacked and the visit to Tafileh was successful," government spokesman Taher Adwan told state-run Petra news agency.

"All that happened was a quarrel between police and people who wanted to greet the king," he added.

Some reports say that the violence came after Tafileh mayor barred young unemployed from a town meeting with the king and also because of the harsh treatment by anti-riot police, who beat them as they tried to line the sidewalk for the motorcade and present petitions to the king.

"Those who do not represent the people of Tafileh have been chosen to sit with the king. We have been marginalized in a provocative step that shows how security apparatuses control the people," said a group calling itself the "Freemen of Tafileh."

The attack came a day after King Abdullah II vowed to enhance political and economic reforms and promised a new electoral law leading to a parliamentary government in an attempt to end months of anti-government protest rallies in the country.

Tafileh, about 200 kilometers (124 miles) south of the capital Amman, like other Jordanian cities, has been the scene of anti-government protests over the past months. Jordanians demand reforms, effective measures to fight corruption and the resignation of Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit and his cabinet.

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