Jordan Pummels Journalists

Violent Jordan police beat up journalists covering a protest and may have inadvertently paved the way for a hot “Arab Spring” summer.

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu, | updated: 15:29

Club-wielding Jordanian police
Club-wielding Jordanian police
Israel news photo: Sufisticate.com

Violent Jordan police beat up journalists covering a protest and may have inadvertently paved the way for a hot “Arab Spring” summer.

Authorities detained four policemen, charged with causing severe injuries to reporters covering Friday's Islamic-led protests against the kingdom, which has promised but not yet carried out wide-ranging reforms. Five journalists were hospitalized.

The government, clearly troubled by the violence, stated, “We respect the freedom of the press, and we will work to ensure an incident like this never happens again.”

King Abdullah II generally has been spared the massive uprising that has rocked several Muslim countries n the Middle East and Africa, but he has not been immune. Police last month broke up a protest with gunshots but allegedly prevented journalists from reporting the scope of the Bedouin opposition.

Friday’s club-swinging police in the capital of Amman injured at least 15 people in an unusually violent confrontation with nearly 300 reporters, who nearly outnumbered the demonstrators. The attacks on journalists sparked outrage throughout the country, and Jordan- based journalists said they would stage a sit-in protest Sunday.

It reported that Friday was “a black day for journalism in Jordan following the first open-ended sit-in since March. Demonstrators and loyalists clashed at the protest Friday, and journalists were caught in the crossfire, the Jordan Times reported.

“Within 20 minutes, everything changed 180 degrees,” Nidal Mansour, director of the Amman-based Centre for Defending the Freedom of Journalists, told the newspaper. The violence “shattered Jordan’s image as a welcoming country for members of the press,” he added. “Friday was not just a black day for journalism; it was a bloody day.”

An Associated Press photographer said police told him it was forbidden to take pictures of the protest ad then started to kick and beat him.




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