Today is day 3 since protests erupted following the government’s announcement that fuel prices would be increased, and once again King Abdullah is nowhere to be seen.
Protests continued today in numerous locations around Jordan, including in Amman, where tear gas was used against protesters in Dakhliyeh Circle, where the Interior Ministry is located, according to @LinaR and @Nadine18. Tear gas was also dropped on protesters in Jabal Al-Jussein, according to @LinaR, who also said that there were approximately five hundred protesters outside Raghadan palace. There were, however, fewer protests today, and one could argue that this is because of Islamic New Year.
While we have seen nothing of the King, we did hear from General Hussein Majali, who vowed to “strike with an iron fist” against those who continued to demand their rights. He also said that 158 people were arrested during the protests had already had charges against them, including – he seemed to emphasize – two Syrian nationals, who he said “confessed to having been paid by an unidentified Jordanian political party to join protests to beef up crowd numbers.” Let’s examine that allegation for a moment – thousands of people protested, but an “unidentified political party” paid them to “beef up” the numbers of people in the crowd? By two? With Syrians so that the regime would have a convenient excuse to blame protests on outsiders? This would be funny if it didn’t involve the state thwarting the democratic aspirations of its people. Not to mention how interesting is it that all these “criminals” who had charges against them decided to convene in the one place that they could all get arrested simultaneously? Coincidence or simply a stroke of luck?
Majali also said that “freedom of expression is guaranteed” but that protests had to be peaceful. But why, then, has the government used tear gas against peaceful protestors today and since the current wave of demonstrations began. Why is the government degrading its own people by saying that they are criminals for simply speaking up? It is as if they see in vandalism an opportunity to discredit those who are peacefully demanding their rights.
Prime Minister Ensour made an appearance on Al-Jazeera today. As if this isn’t comical enough, other figures within the government have spoken also, offering the same promises of future reforms. Nasser Judeh, the Foreign Minister claimed that “the political reform process is on track, the social reform process is on track, and the economic reform process has to be on track,” according to the New York Times. He also defended the cosmetic changes that the government had made over the last year. The government fails to grasp that promises of future reform no longer keep the people satisfied. When you promise someone something over and over again without any change or a plan for implementing that change, your word becomes useless and in this case pathetic.
We have also heard from the opposition Muslim Brotherhood, which urged the King to rescind the price hikes and said thatdemonstrations are planned in Amman for tomorrow. Some leading figures in the Muslim Brotherhood, including IAF General Secretary Hamza Mansour held a meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister but no agreement was made to resolve the standoff.
That leaves King Abdullah. He’s nowhere to be seen. Indeed, some of the only news about him that we have heard is from Petra, which announced that King Abdullah received a phone call from Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, and they “discussed regional developments, especially the situation in Gaza…” and “bilateral ties, especially in the economic field.” The article also mentioned that the Egyptian President congratulated the King on the advent of the new Islamic year. We also heard when the protests first began King Abdullah went to visit the grave of his father King Hussein. At least we know the great leader of Jordan is making good use of his time, while his people are protesting in masses simply asking for him to implement the reform that he’s been promising. Other than these two siting it appears as if King Abdullah is missing in action!
This makes us wonder? Where is King Abdullah? Has anyone seen him? Reward has not yet been promised.