After demonstrations in Amman, Jordan on Friday 18 February, 2011, thousands of Jordanians representing diverse groups and voices took to the streets this Friday 25 February, in a more organized and responsible protest.
Protests have been held regularly for several weeks, calling for a transition to a constitutional monarchy, major economic reforms, a new election law, and increased political voice for Jordanian citizens.
Last Friday's violence ended with several injuries after counter-protesters attacked demonstrators calling for reform: two people were detained on suspicion of complicity and another eleven people were investigated.
Jordanians were hopeful that this week's demonstrations would continue peacefully and today's peaceful atmosphere was appreciated by all after a tense week.
A well prepared and mostly unarmed police force ensured the safety of all citizens marching through downtown Amman. Among the Jordan-centric calls for change and reform, the voices on the streets also called out for a general Arab spirit of unity, for a free Palestine, and announced a protest in front of the Libyan Embassy in Amman later today.
One rumor which surfaced and was announced via loudspeaker, claimed that Gaddafi had committed suicide, which sent the crowd into a momentary euphoric cheer.
According to this AmmanNet report [ar], today's protests included two main groups: one calling for constitutional reforms, and the other in allegiance to the King. The afternoon ended with the detention of three people for being drunk and two others for pickpocketing among the 7,000 protesters.
Reactions from the Twittersphere
Nisreen al-Shamaleh reported:
1000s in so far peaceful #Amman rally demanding political reforms, expressing support for #Jordan monarchy & solidarity with Libyans
Security sources say 500 police deployed to protect downtown #Amman rally. Sources on the ground say there are as many as 1,500
The protesters were joined by counter-protesters as well as those demanding reforms. Both groups expressed their loyalty to Jordan's King Abdullah II. As Hazem Zureiqat wrote:
Here we go again: Reports of a “pro King” march in downtown Amman. As if there's an “anti King” protest! #JO #ReformJO
Thoraya assessed the situation as such:
To the fear mongers: key #JO protest slogan far from revolutionary! It's all abt reform #ReformJO http://yfrog.com/hsu8hkwj
Even as the protests were underway, though, some on twitter questioned the purpose of the protests. Khaled al-Ahmad tweeted:
If you are seeking real #ReformJO #Gov is ready to talk, let's start the dialogue and if demands not met then Protest #Nufsaid
Urdun Mubdi3 disagreed:
To those calling 4dialog & not to protest,newsflash: protest=form of dialog. Gov must listen & engage w key people aftr they're done w demos
Samih Toukan agreed:
Even if somebody disagrees with demonstrators and their goals he/she shld accept and support their right to protest #reformjo
Ali Abu Nimah joined those who were pleased with the peaceful outcome of the demonstrations.
Impressed with the huge demonstrations in Jordan today. The right response to last week's thuggery. #JO #ReformJO
Rami Mansour agreed, referring to King Abdullah II by his nickname “Abu Hussein”:
I am so proud of today's democratic and peaceful demonstration in #Amman #Jordan today. God bless our beloved Jordan and Abu Hussein
Concurrent demonstrations have occurred in several of Jordan's other major cities [ar], and all were reported to have ended without incidents of violence. Twitter discussions on Jordan's reforms continue under the hashtag #reformjo
#JO Twitter Hashtag for Jordanian Protests
محمد الخطيب: المسيرة تسير بشكل انسيابي و لم يتوانى الامن عن اعتقال اي شخص يحاول الاخلال بالامن #reformJO
نقلا عن مراسلتنا نور العمد: جميع مداخل وسط البلد مغلقة من الامن العام و لا يسمح بدخول السيارات
Just gave a ride 2a police officer going 2 wrk. touched by his +attitude. He said he has 2wrk 2day 2ensure safety of demonstrators
ولو اني مو مقتنع، بس نازل ع البلد مشي اتظاهر تضامنا مع حق الناس في التعبير السلمي،،سلام
تقارير تتحدث عن مسيرة “مؤيدة للملك” في وسط البلد، وكأن أحداً يتظاهر ضد الملك! درجة انعدام الوعي السياسي عند البعض محبط #JO #ReformJO
Broad coalition of reform is emerging in #Jordan: youth movements, liberals, left, moderate nationalists, islamists.
طالعين وطالعين, لندعوا لوحدة عربية.. الذي يحصل اليوم يثبت أن الأحلام ممكن أن تتحقق
مسيرة الكــرك … مطالبنا شرعية ملكية دستورية . . وحكومة وحدة وطنية
Anti-protester protesters protesting the protests in amman #jo, and everyone is confused as to why either is protesting. I protest.
اقارن الاردن الان وايام زمان عندما كنا نتعتقل ونعذب في المخابرات ونفصل من العمل والجامعة لاننا نتظاهر بشكل سلمي مع ان مطالبنا كانت اقل
Refreshing to see such a peaceful expression of opinion in Jordan. Common demands & objectives were much more evident today
To the fear mongers: key #JO protest slogan far from revolutionary! It's all abt reform