Jordanians protest over hotel attacks

Thousands of flag-waving Jordanians thronged downtown Amman in a noisy, emphatic demonstration against the deadly attacks that struck the kingdom last week.

    Protesters in Amman denounced their countryman al-Zarqawi

    Citizens gathered in the capital to take part in what they named the March of the Nation to protest against al-Qaida in Iraq's attacks in the city last week.

    "Al-Zarqawi, you coward, what brought you here?' shouted the angry crowd in reference to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq group that claimed the 9 November triple hotel bombings.

    The three bombers killed 59 people in their attacks on hotels in the capital and shocked Jordanians who had prided their country as a safe haven amid the violence of the region.

    Large march

    "Cease, cease, al-Zarqawi, you are a villain!" the throng chanted. "Cease, Cease, you terrorist, you are a coward!"

    Marchers came from across
    Jordan to attend the event

    Jordanian television reported that 100,000 people took part in the march, however that estimate could not be independently matched.

    The size of the crowd appeared to be much larger than protests last week in the days immediately after the bombings.

    Friday's marchers came from across Jordan in a show of solidarity in the demonstration organised by the municipality of Amman.

    Al-Zarqawi denounced

    "I came specifically to say to those terrorists and al-Zarqawi that we are all united against them. We do not want them on our land," said Ghazi al-Hajjaj, 43, who journeyed from Tafila, 183km south of Amman, to attend the rally.

    Palestinians from Jordan's 13 refugee camps also took part in the protest.

    In al-Zarqawi's hometown of Zarqa, 27km northeast of Amman, dozens of angry members of his al-Khalayleh tribe held a rally, pledging allegiance to King Abdullah II and denouncing their infamous son.

    "If my son was a terrorist, I wouldn't hesitate to kill him," said Musa al-Khalayleh, who said he spoke on behalf of the tribe.

    "This is the slogan raised by the tribe as of this moment."

    SOURCE: Agencies


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