Rare riots in Jordan see many arrested
The Jordanian town of Dhiban has been the scene of rare riots against the government over the lack of job opportunites and rising unemployment; Jordanian security forces have been working to stop the riots, while the government is trying to solve the jobs problem.
Dozens of unemployed Jordanians protesting the lack of job opportunities in the town of Dhiban south of the Jordanian capital Amman were met with violence at the hands of Jordanian security forces on Thursday and Friday nights.
The protest has been going on for about two months, with a large protest tent set up in the center of the town. The violence erupted after Jordanian security forces attempted to take down the tent and arrest the protest organizers.
Dhiban, a town of 39,000 people, is one of the poorest towns in the entire Kingdom of Jordan.
The ensuing riots saw the use of live fire which resulted in several injuries amongst the Jordanian security forces. Meanwhile, dozens of protestors were arrested.
Following the use of tear gas by Jordanian authorities, protestors set fire to the houses of the policemen who live in the city.
These social protests are coming at a bad time for the Jordanian government. The new Jordanian Prime Minister, Hani Al-Mulki, has been compelled to personally intervene and create a framework which will solve these unemployed Jordanians' issues, whereby the security forces will withdraw from the town, and whereby those who were arrested will be released (except those who used live fire against the security forces).
"The government wants to solve this problem with dialogue and in a legal and objective way. The dialogue requires quiet and time. We aren’t in a war," said Musa Mayata, Jordanian Minister of Political and Parliamentary Affairs in an interview with CNN Arabic.
Former Member of Parliament Ali a-Sanid is mediating between the two sides and claims that the Jordanian Prime Minister scolded the Interior Minister over the security forces' behavior.
"I believe that what happened on Thursday night is a part of the 'Arab Spring,' and that we need to be careful," a-Sanid said during his meeting with Prime Minister al-Mulki early Friday morning. A-Sanid claimed that the rioting would have continued were it not for the Prime Minster's efforts and the removal of security forces.
Yet despite the promises of the Jordanian Prime Minister, Friday night still saw riots in Dhiban. The rioters closed off one of the main roads with large boulders and burning tires. Security forces therefore tried to disperse the rioters using teargas, but this only led to further clashes between the two sides. Rioters also threw Molotov cocktails at security service vehicles after hundreds of people gathered in the main square of the town.
Witnesses claimed that the rioters also threw rocks at the security forces, who then responded by firing more tear gas. There were no reports of any wounded, but one of the protest leaders later wrote on his Facebook page that "our demands are legitimate and legal. We are completely committed to this non-violent protest which expresses our suffering. We urge our brothers in the security forces to not shoot teargas at us."