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From The Socialist newspaper, 6 April 2011

Jordan: 'Reforms' fail to halt growing opposition

CWI reporter Amman, Jordan

On Friday 25 March, more than 1,500 demonstrators demanding reforms clashed with a group of government supporters in the centre of Amman, the capital city of Jordan. They threw stones at each other until police forces charged in and started beating protesters with batons. One person was killed and more than 100 injured.

This is the most violent event that has taken place, so far, in Jordan, over the last few weeks of demonstrations.

Demonstrations have been relatively small and peaceful in Jordan, in comparison to those in other Arab countries, and have not been calling for the removal of King Abdullah II. Now protesters say they will intensify their struggle and they are determined to take it much further, until their demands are met by the government.

The campaign was launched on 24 March, as a peaceful sit-in protest at the Interior Ministry circle in the centre of Amman, by a group of young people inspired by the Egyptian, Tunisian and Libyan revolutions under the banner, 'March 24th Movement' and was mostly coordinated through Facebook.

Their demands are for political reforms and better living and working conditions. They call for an end to corruption and autocracy, as well as the removal of prime minister Marouf al-Bakhit. They also demand the dismantling of the feared 'Intelligence' (secret police).

Regime 'reforms'

"There is no trust to anyone in this government. We want to be able to have a say about who is representing us, we ask for a real vote", one young unemployed said. The most popular slogan, so far, is: 'Grandfather was a Palestine martyr, Father was al-Karama martyr, Brother is a duty martyr, I am a liberty and corruption martyr'.

A few days ago, King Abdullah II and al-Bakhit publicly pledged new reform policies as a sign of good will towards the uprisings.

The key points of those reforms include a call for the elimination of corruption; an end to interference in student unions and for freedom of political beliefs at universities, to take practical steps within three months to revive the economy and create jobs; to ensure social justice; to put in place measures to attract foreign investments, especially from Arab countries, and for judicial independence.

No matter what reforms the government gives because of fear of more uprisings, the majority of Jordanians have no trust in this government whatsoever and are fully determined to fight until they see real changes.

It is necessary to translate the growing desire for change among youth into demands for fundamental change that challenge the regime.

We call for:

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