Anti-government protesters demand political r
Anti-government protesters demand political rReuters

A showdown is shaping up between Jordan's monarchy and Islamist forces, with rival demonstrations scheduled for this Friday.

At least 200,000 demonstrators are expected to appear in the capital of Amman on Friday to support King Abdullah II, as some 50,000 protesters from the country's sole opposition bloc, the powerful regionwide Muslim Brotherhood organization, do the same. The Jordanian Brotherhood formed its own political party in 1942 -- the Islamic Action Front -- which has the largest number of seats of any party in the Jordanian parliament.

Both are expected to be at rallies in the same place at the same time, and claim the scene will be “peaceful and civilized.”

Jordanian public security chief General Hazza al-Majali called on organizers to “cooperate” with police in a statement issued Wednesday, saying his forces would ensure the safety of both sides, AFP reported.

Held under the banner of “Allegiance and Belonging,” the pro-monarchy demonstration is intended to undermine the growing opposition movement. “The goals of the Muslim Brotherhood demonstration are questionable,” said organizer Jihad al-Sheikh. “They are looking for a confrontation, and anyone who supports the interests of Jordan should face them.” 

Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Zaki Bani Rashid told reporters, “We will not challenge anyone and we will not provoke anyone.” The organization has called for a constitutional monarchy, which would render the king essentially powerless.

Last year in response to the Arab Spring uprisings that swept the region, the Hashemite monarch promised political and economic reforms that included elections by the end of this year.

However, as they did in 2010, Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood has said it will boycott the elections, claiming the system favors rural regions that support the government.