Earlier this month the newly-elected parliament threw out temporary laws allowing women the right to divorce their spouses and providing harsher punishments for those guilty of so-called “honour crimes”.

“We want to be able to divorce our men when we wish and have the basic rights of being free,” said Arwa Aamiry, a professor of psychology at the University of Jordan, taking part in the protest.

Islamist and conservative members of parliament mounted a campaign to reject the law passed by cabinet in the two years since the previous parliament was dissolved, claiming that the legislatures violated religious traditions and would “destroy families” and values.

But the demonstrators held up signs reading “nothing in the law violates our traditions” and urging parliament to “deal seriously with social legislation”.

The government adopted 220 “temporary laws” following the dissolution of parliament in 2001 by royal decree.

Last week the House of Representatives referred the law on divorce and “honour crimes” - usually the killing of a woman by a male relative who deemed her to have insulted the family’s honour through sexual behaviour believed inadequate- to the senate for a vote before formally revoking them.