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Middle East
Two dead, scores hurt in Jordanian clashes
Two killed and 100 injured in clashes in Amman as kingdom's prime minister warns of chaos and consequences.
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2011 22:55
100 people were reportedly injured in clashes in the Jordanian capital of Amman [Reuters]

Two persons are reported to have been killed after being beaten to death by riot police and pro-government loyalists in the Jordanian capital of Amman, Al Jazeera has learned.

More than 100 people, including policemen, were injured in the clashes, a medical source at the scene said.

Anti-riot police also broke up a protest camp for students and arrested several of them, a security official told AFP news agency.

The clashes erupted after around 200 government supporters hurled large stones at more than 2,000 young demonstrators from different movements calling for reforms to the current leadership and more efforts to fight corruption, an AFP journalist reported.

"Our gathering is peaceful, but this did not prevent the attacks," demonstrators said.

"Does the king agree with such actions? We are Jordanians and we have the right to express ourselves," said Reda Darwish, aged 20.

"We as young Jordanians, and as a whole nation, are fed up to see our demands ignored by the government and official institutions of this country," youth activist Moadh Khawaldeh told Al Jazeera.

'Start of chaos'

Speaking on Jordanian television, Marouf al-Bakhit, the country's prime minister, blamed an opposition Islamist group for the clashes.

"What happened today is definitely the start of chaos and it is unacceptable and I warn of the consequences," said Bakhit.

Trouble broke out at nightfall on Thursday when police attempted to disperse the youths, cutting off electricity to the square around 11:00 pm (2100 GMT), an AFP journalist witnessed.

Protesters said around 50 "loyalists" attacked them with rocks after the power supply was lost, adding that police who surrounded the scene did not intervene.

"We hold the interior minister responsible for this incident and we call on the king and the people to protect us from these thugs who are attacking us," said Nihad Zuhair, another protester.

The protesters want corrupt officials to be put on trial and security services to stop interfering in their affairs.

"The revolution is happening all around us," they shouted. "Jordan, your turn is coming."

"We want constitutional amendments to have parliamentary governments," said Alaa Fazaa of the Jayeen (We are Coming) group, adding the protests would go on until their demands were met.

Meanwhile, thousands gathered in Al-Hussein Gardens west of Amman to express loyalty and allegiance to the king, dancing to national songs and waving large national flags and pictures of the monarch.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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