Fri Sep 30, 2011
Thousands of Jordanians have taken to the streets in the capital, Amman, to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit and the dissolution of the lower house of parliament.
Accusing the government of Bakhit and lawmakers of “protecting corruption”, nearly 4,000 anti-government protesters marched from Al-Husseini mosque to nearby city hall following the Friday Prayers, to call for their removal from power.
“A government that is protecting corruption cannot be trusted, and a parliament of corruption does not represent the people,” chanted the protesters who held banners reading, “You will not be able to fool us”.
The protest rally came after the lower house approved a bill that would criminalize corruption allegations. According to the bill, those who publicly accuse officials of corruption without proof will be fined between 30,000 and 60,000 dinars (USD42,000-USD85,000).
The demonstrators also condemned the recent constitutional changes, which were approved by King Abdullah II on Friday.
They say the amendments are insufficient and do not meet their key demands for a new electoral law and an elected prime minister.
The constitutional reforms include the creation of an independent commission to oversee elections and the limitation of the jurisdiction of the military state security court.
Similar anti-government protests were also held in other major Jordanian cities.
Jordan has faced anti-government rallies demanding reforms and an end to corruption since January.
In June, in a bid to appease protesters, King Abdullah II announced some concessions, including the formation of future governments that were based on an elected parliamentary majority rather than one appointed by the monarch.
However, the monarch said it may take two to three years to put an elected government in place.