News24

Tear gas fired at Jordan demonstration

2011-12-23 18:02

Amman - Jordanian police on Friday fired tear gas to break up clashes between pro-reform Islamist demonstrators and government loyalists in the northern city of Mafraq after clashes broke out.

"Police had to fire tear gas after around 300 Islamists clashed with thousands of members of the Bani Hassan tribe," said police spokesperson Mohammad Khatib.

"Dozens from all sides, including police, were injured. But the injuries are minor," he said without elaborating.

Witnesses said several shops were destroyed during the clashes.

"Demonstrators sought refuge in a mosque in Mafraq," said one witness.

"Abdelmajid Khawaldeh, the Islamist representative in the city, was among the injured," he said, adding "the situation is still tense".

Bani Hassan, one of Jordan's largest tribes, warned Islamists on Thursday against demonstrating in Mafraq, accusing them of "trying to sow sedition".

Pro-reform rallies also took place in central Amman and other parts of Jordan, where opposition Islamists, youth groups and other parties have been protesting since January, demanding political and economic change and an end to corruption.

Meanwhile, around 3 000 people held a sit-in outside the Syrian embassy in Amman, urging an end to bloodshed in Jordan's northern neighbour, where more than 5 000 have been killed, according to UN figures.

Calling on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, the demonstrators urged Jordan to expel Damascus's ambassador to Amman.