Will Bassem Awadallah Finally be Charged for Corruption?

Bassem Awadallah corruption

Jordan Times has reported that a corruption case will be announced within the next week. Could it involve Bassem Awadallah? I have heard from multiple people that he may finally be charged with corruption. The notorious former planning minister has been accused for years of stealing millions from the government.

It is worth noting that Bassem Awadallah’s father was close to the late King Hussein and Bassem is also close to King Abdullah. These rumors that Awadallah will be prosecuted come as the people have demanded that corruption in Jordan come to an end. First King Abdullah arrested Dahabi and now potentially Bassem Awadallah in an attempt to alleviate the concerns of the people regarding corruption at the highest levels of the regime.

This is not the first time that it has been said that Awadallah would be prosecuted. Indeed, reports of corruption and other indiscretions have surrounded Awadallah for some time. In March 2012, a committee investigating the privatization of the national phosphate company recommended prosecuting Bassem Awadallah along with former Prime Minister Mahrouf Bakhit, but no action was taken against him.

His personal life has also been the subject of much negative scrutiny. His home in Jordan, which is said to be valued at $4 million is one of the nation’s largest but he does not even live in it. He was reported to have severely beaten his wife of four months in 2009, leading her to file for divorce. When his mother died he held a funeral that was one of the largest in Jordan. There have also been incidents involving members of his family, including his father.

What is important to realize here is that prosecuting individuals, whether they are Mohammed Dahabi, Bassem Awadallah, or others makes little difference if the fundamental political culture remains the same. Otherwise things like this could become yet more attempts by the regime to make it appears that reform is happening while in fact nothing is going on.

Jordan’s King Abdullah Continues to Buy Time

Image by Troy Carter. (@CarterTroy)

King Abdullah’s most recent interview with Al Rai and Jordan Times and Al Bab either proves that he has learned nothing about the Arab Spring or is in fact a true genius. Since the beginning of 2011 King Abdullah has time and time again promised his people reform.

On November 14, 2011 King Abdullah said in an interview with Lyse Doucet of BBC that he and his government were in the process of  “rolling up our sleeves and now doing the hard work to achieve political reform.”  He appears to have mastered the art of being able to say the right things and to convince people that things are finally going to change, but the act is wearing thin.

When the people continued taking to the streets demanding much needed reform, King Abdullah’s approach never changed. He became skilled at agreeing with the need for reform and perhaps an expert at changing governments, over and over again as well. In April 2011, Prime Minister Khasawaneh resigned, holding his position for only 6 months because he felt that although he was appointed to implement reform, he was not actually being allowed to do so. In an interview with the economist Khasawneh said, “I was supposed to run a country… I won’t accept instructions from a palace.” What was King Abdullah’s response? What it has been this entire time, he not only said that reform needed to be implemented in Jordan but blamed Khasawaneh in a written letter saying that Khasawneh’s resignation was necessary because Jordan “cannot afford any delay in achieving the needed reform.”

Right now in Jordan, the people are risking their lives, and defending their dignity to protest. King Abdullah during these protests said nothing and did everything – everything that is related to issues going on outside Jordan. While his people took to the streets, King Abdullah’s only words were about Israel and Syria—yes both of which much be talked about, but how can a leader address other countries and not his own when his people literally took to his streets demanding for his downfall?

Now gives an interview for the first time since the November Uprising, and what does he say? He regurgitates the same speech that he has been reciting for the past year. This time however, he does do one thing different, he frees himself from blame. He does this by saying that these reforms that he’s been promising for the past year and half will have to be dealt with by parliament and the people, despite the fact that the upcoming election is being held under an electoral law which has led the opposition, including both the National Front for Reform and the Muslim Brotherhood to refuse to participate. Here are some highlights from his interview with the regime owned Jordan Times and Al-Rai, and Al-Bab: 

“The future of reform is in the hands of the Jordanian voters as they go to the polls early next year.”

What about King Abdullah’s own role in this process, which requires him to give up the absolute power he currently enjoys over Jordan’s political process? He’s saying that the reform is now in the hands of the Jordanian people, the parliament, everyone but himself. In a constitutional monarchy this would be fine, but as of yet Jordan doesn’t have that, so what is King Abdullah talking about? He is buying himself time, until the magical date of January 23, where all the reforms that have been promised will suddenly be implemented? Yes it sounds very nice and empowering to the people but these words mean nothing.

Regarding economic reform, he said: “It is also essential to create financial facilities for small and medium enterprises in the governorates, encourage entrepreneurship through soft loans and launch initiatives to provide empowerment, training and business incubators, as part of public-private sector partnerships. The Governorates Development Fund will play a key role in this regard.”

Not a bad idea in theory, but how is the government going to be able to successfully engage in such a program with its current record of corruption? What is more likely to happen is that business loans will be granted to those well-connected enough to be able to obtain them, and the money will be either diverted to corrupt officials and their associates, or lost altogether.

“What is important is to keep developing the law in a democratic manner through constitutional institutions to reflect the wish of the majority, so that it becomes fairer and more representative, empowers political parties, is more conducive to the formation of parliamentary governments and preserves pluralism.”

In a democracy, the people are allowed to protest, and to criticize any government officials regardless of who they are. Furthermore, the people are allowed to protest without getting beaten up, tear-gassed, tortured, or held on charges of trying to overthrow the regime. Indeed, in a democracy the notion of using force to remove a government would not exist because the government could be removed through elections, which would produce real change.

If Jordan were indeed developing the law in a democratic matter then Human Rights Watch would not constantly be writing about human rights violations. Since January 27, 2011 Human Rights Watch has been writing against the oppressive regimes tactics when it comes to the rights of the protesters, starting with their first article “Jordan: Let Jordanians Speak Their Minds.” It has not ended here, as since then Human Rights watch has published over 10 articles regarding the repressive tactics employed by the regime, most recently on September 14, 2012.

Regarding the aftermath of elections, I see it as a new stage of reforms to be implemented through the new Parliament. Then, we will move from the Jordanian Spring into the Jordanian Summer, the harvest season when the coming Parliament will start responding to several reform priorities and new issues of national concern.

Before I even being commenting on this I want to use once again what King Abdullah said in his interview with Lyse Doucet on November 14, 2011, “I think we in Jordan are going from the Arab spring to the Arab summer. I.e. rolling up our sleeves and now doing the hard work to achieve political reform.”

You cannot move from spring to summer with a parliament that is not going to be representative of the will of the Jordanian people, and that will be boycotted by almost every major opposition group. A true Jordanian summer would involve a parliament that is elected by the Jordanian people, using a fair electoral process rather than one that leaves most of the seats elected from vastly uneven districts. This also begs another question, what about last years “Arab summer”?

Additionally, true political reform means that parliament itself must assess, as the democratically elected representatives of the people, what political and other reforms get first priority.

Many on social media have praised King Abdullah’s speech and used these very same quotes to demonstrate how Jordan is on the path to reform. However, when looking into these quotes it isn’t difficult to see they mean nothing. Everything King Abdullah said was to buy himself more time. He hasn’t said anything that includes a real plan to put Jordan on the path to reform, as we simply keep hearing more of the same from the monarch.

Protests Held in Amman, Irbid, and Elsewhere

Protests continued throughout Jordan on Friday, with some of the largest protests occurring in Irbid. Rallies were also held in Amman and throughout Jordan today despite the decision of the National Front for Reform to postpone its planned protest until next Friday, November 30th due to inclement weather. This shows that despite the smaller crowds protesting in recent days the government’s disregard for the will of the people cannot continue indefinitely.

The following sections will outline events occurring in different areas throughout Jordan.  If you witness any developments, do not hesitate to tweet to us at @ImpatientBedu or email us using our contact us form, and we will add it here. Let us know if you do not want to be mentioned by name.

Amman

Protests on Friday were held against the fuel price increase, with citizens calling for boycotting the upcoming parliamentary elections – in one incident, burning their voter IDs in protest. These protests were led primarily by leftist and independent groups, without a major role from Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. Some protesters also called once again for the overthrow of the regime.

Irbid

According to the (albiet government-run) Jordan Times, the largest protests were held today in Irbid. There were several major protests in Irbid. Islamists organized a protest in front of Yarmouk  University demanding the resignation of the Prime Minister and the government. In addition there were two other demonstrations organized by leftist groups called “Popular Youth Coalition for Change” and the “Irbid Popular Movement for Change,” both of which called for the reversal of the decision on fuel protests.

Protesters also called for the release of the detainees who remain in custody.

Other Areas

Protests against the fuel price increase were also held in Karak, Maan, Tafileh, and Zarqa, according to @Freedom_Jordan.

 

Pensions for MPs: A Case Study of Symbolic Steps Combined with Inaction

A couple of days ago King Abdullah rejected an amendment to a law enacted in 2010 which eliminated pensions for Members of Parliament. The King also sent a letter to Prime Minister Ensour outlining plans for broader reform of civil service pensions. The government-owned Jordan Times had an online article today which is entitled “King’s decision on controversial pension law ensures equality — columnists.” The article quotes several columnists who say that the decision highlights the King’s commitment to equality, incluiding Jumana Ghneimat the chief editor of Al Ghad, whom the article said praised King Abdullah because he “used his jurisdiction to ensure equality among all, noting that the decision is in line with his constitutional powers.” From the article, one might assume that the elimination of pensions for 150 MPs may lead to greater equality among all Jordanians, but don’t be fooled. No real reform has been made.

The last parliament had a total of 120 MPs, and the parliament that will be elected after the January 23rd election will have a total of 150 MPs. According to recent reports, the total pension expenses for retired elected officials (MPs, in addition to former Prime Ministers and other officials), totals only about JD14 million, and an estimate made when MPs voted to give themselves lifetime pensions in May of this year indicated an estimated total annual cost of between JD3 to 4 million annually – all this is out of a total budget of JD6.8 billion in 2012. Is this too much? Almost certainly, and it should be dealt with, but fixing this one thing does little to solve Jordan’s long-standing economic problems. It is like prosecuting one corrupt official while leaving the overall system in place. It does nothing to solve the problems with the system itself.

So eliminating pensions for MPs is a token measure if there ever was one – becuase (with the opposition planning to boycott the election) it will only affect those likely to dominate the next parliament – “Independent” MPs who are likely allies of the King to begin with. The fact that this decision was implemented by royal decree shows that nothing has changed. In this context, whether or not the decision was the right one is irrelevant – because it was made in a flawed manner, even if it was in alignment with the will of the Jordanian people. The decision to cancel pensions for MPs was a way for the King to earn popular support at a time when he has come under fire from protesters, without actually changing anything.

Real reform involves not simply pensions for lawmakers but the way that they are elected, and in a free and fair election voters would be free to chose opposing candidates if they did not like the pensions that MPs voted to give themselves. This is true reform – not the throwing of crumbs to the population by royal prerogative.

Prince Hamzah and Jordan’s Protesters

The New York Times reported about the support that Prince Hamzah has among some of the protesters in Jordan. According to the article, activists from the opposition movement Hirak are planning to hold up pictures of Prince Hamzah at upcoming demonstrations. Prince Hamzah was said to be King Hussein’s favorite, and he insisted that King Abdullah name him Crown Prince when he assumed the throne. He did so, but in 2004 removed him, replacing him with his own son, Prince Hussein, saying that replacing him as Crown Prince enabled him to perform other duties.

Many of the supporters of Prince Hamzah are from the tribal base which the monarchy has relied upon for support. Many of the protesters arrested for chanting against the King came from areas which would traditionally be considered to be supportive of the monarchy, and they have been especially angered over the government’s recent decision on fuel subsidies. At the same time, their anger is not one-dimensional, as they are upset about the fuel subsidies but are also upset – despite being the traditional base of support for the monarchy – at the lack of political reform despite repeated promises even as they oppose the fuel price increase. In politics, nothing is ever simple.

As these same people remember King Hussein fondly, support for Prince Hamzah becomes an attractive alternative to King Abdullah, whom they view as corrupt. It is also worth noting – as this article points out – that Queen Rania has not been spared their anger either.

As of now, Prince Hamzah has said nothing, and many of the demonstrators chanting against the King have called for a republic, but Prince Hamzah’s role as an additional factor is too important to overlook. Stay tuned.

November 20: Unrest Continues; King Abdullah’s Worries Continue to be Elsewhere

The regime’s crackdown on people demanding their rights continued unabated on Tuesday, one week after the government announced that it would be raising the price of fuel. Since protests began, the regime has offered only token gestures – like cancelling the pensions of Members of Parliament – without addressing any of the real demands of the people, which extend beyond merely cancelling the price increases on fuel. The government also pledged that they would review fuel prices every month, and that they would be altered to reflect market prices – leaving open the door for further price increases after the one that was implemented last week, though prices could also fall if oil prices fall. The government also announced that payments to lower-income families could be applied for at Knowledge Stations located around Jordan. Also, Prime Minister Ensour gave an account of his meeting with the JTA saying that they “left satisfied” from meeting him on Saturday, even though they decided to go ahead with the strike action on Sunday. If he believes this, he’s very out of touch.

These actions miss the point entirely though – the government that implemented this decision was appointed by the King, rather than by parliament, and the next government after the elections will be selected by a parliament packed with “Independent” candidates who are supporters of the King. The election for this parliament will take place under inequitable laws, and will be boycotted by the opposition.

Speaking of King Abdullah, a video on YouTube may potentially offer indications as to his whereabouts during the first few days of protests. If this is real, he is mocking the demonstrators? His attention during the demonstrations has almost deliberately been focused on events occurring everywhere but in Jordan. Today, for example, he spoke with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi about the situation in Gaza, and also spoke with Netanyahu, whom he warned not to launch a ground attack in Gaza.

Since the protests began last Tuesday, @Freedom_Jordan reports that between 260 and 300 people have been arrested, with 91 of them facing charges in State Security Court. He tweeted a list of names of those arrested (in Arabic) here.

Protests continued today against the government’s decision. There were rallies in Amman and elsewhere throughout the country, and several activists were arrested. Many protesters called for the dismissal of Prime Minister Ensour and the formation of a “Government of National Salvation.” Check the regional sections below for more information about events occurring in areas around Jordan.

If you witness any developments, do not hesitate to tweet to us at @ImpatientBedu or email us using our contact us form, and we will add it here. Let us know if you do not want to be mentioned by name.

Amman

In Amman there were protests in Jebel Hussein (which marched to the Nuzha area) and in Sweileh, where a protest organized by Islamists was held. Bara’a Also’od, an activist from Tafaileh was arrested by security forces, according to @Freedom_Jordan, who also reported that Mohammad Balawi was arrested in Baqaa.

Karak

A protest was held at the Almarj mosque, at which protesters chanted that the government was playing with fire by raising prices. An article (In Arabic) mentions this protest here.

Maan

Protests were held in Amman against the government’s decision to raise fuel subsidies. At these protests demonstrators also chanted against Israel’s attacks on Gaza.

Tafaileh

Protests were held at which demonstrators called for the government to reverse its decision to end subsidies on fuel.

Salt

Two students were arrested at Balqa university, according to @Freedom_Jordan.

 

Jordan: One Week Later

Today marks one week since the government announced that subsidies on fuel would be withdrawn, sparking massive protests including many which called for the removal of King Abdullah. The authorities cracked down, arresting many demonstrators and, in some cases, using tear gas and water cannons to break up demonstrations. The King did not publicly mention the demonstrations for several days, appearing to ignore the domestic situation in Jordan entirely, except for his visit to injured members of the security forces, at which he praised their conduct during the protests. His words make us wonder if the “restraint” that he praised extends to their conduct towards children and teenagers arrested and in some cases tortured during the demonstrations.

Today the government-run Jordan Times posted an article about how Jordan’s record of protecting the rights of children is improving, even as authorities were interrogating children and teenagers arrested during the protests. One of them was Taqi-Aldeen Rawashdeh, 16 years old, who was tortured while in the custody of the security forces. Anonymous Jordan (@Freedom_Jordan) posted a video of him (in Arabic) after his release in which he talks about being arrested. @Freedom_Jordan also said that most of the children detained were released on Sunday night, but also that others had been arrested since, including Ahmad Alzou’bi, who was arrested in Irbid. The article in the Jordan Times mentions several areas including education and health care but neglects to mention other fundamental rights – including the right to demonstrate and criticize any government figure – including King Abdullah – without being arrested or tortured.

The government continued its usual pattern, of making token gestures of reform while actually doing nothing to bring out meaningful change – and ignoring the demands of the protesters that the fuel price increases be rescinded. An example of this is when King Abdullah cancelled the pensions of members of parliament, by rejecting a law that parliament had passed which restored them. It’s a token gesture, which does little to nothing – given that there are only 120 Members of Parliament (it will increase to 150 after the election), and in the same article he ordered a study of pensions in the civil service, which is said to have the aim of ensuring the “highest degree of fairness” in civil service pensions. What will this result in? There are no details. The Prime MInister, meanwhile, has repeatedly defended the government’s decision.

Much of the anger is not just about the decision to raise fuel prices but also about the way that it was done, and what it represents. The government’s promise to assist lower-income families misses the point entirely – which is that the decision was implemented without any sort of democratic accountability.

Protests took place around Jordan, including in Amman, Irbid, Maan, Karak, Aqaba, Tafileh, and elsewhere. Many protests in Amman called for the removal of King Abdullah. Irbid was the site of the protest movement’s first martyr, Qais Al-Omari, whom police initially tried to say was part of an armed attack on a police station. The authorities misled their own people – in addition to BBC and the Associated Press – about this incident but it is not clear if anyone is going to be held to account for it. There were also strikes by students, in addition to numerous professional associations.

The largest opposition groups – and many of those demonstrating – are calling for reform rather than the overthrow of the regime, but the regime seems at this point still committed to its course of stalling and making promises that it will later attempt to go back on. The events of the last week have made one thing clear – the people of Jordan have awakened and the regime’s old tactic of promising reform and democracy without ever actually delivering is not going to work anymore. The decision on fuel prices might still be in place, but something has changed in the last week.

Day 6: King Praises Security Forces, Protests and Strikes Continue

Sunday in Jordan was the sixth day since protests sparked by the government’s decision to raise prices on fuel began. In addition to his meeting with Quartet Envoy Tony Blair and condemning Israeli attacks on Gaza, King Abdullah finally addressed the ongoing crisis, and demonstrated his sympathy is with the security forces rather than the people demanding their rights. He visited injured police and security personnel in the hospital, and praised their “restraint” and their efforts to enforce the law and protect constitutional rights, the most important of which is “which is the right to demonstrate peacefully and express their opinions. I can’t help but say that if he truly believes that the people have the right to express their opinions, they should be able to express their opinions about anyone and anything, including him.

He had nothing but praise for the security forces. He said that “Members of these apparatuses are our brothers and sons who have manifested the highest levels of professionalism, responsibility, patience and wisdom during the recent riots and over the past two years in which they made remarkable efforts and did a perfect job.” In other words, to the King, the events of the past few days, when people demanded their rights are “riots.” Jordanians heard nothing from him for several days and then when they did hear something it merely confirmed what they had known for a long time – that he appears to be completely out of touch.

He seems to be attempting to follow a familiar strategy of stalling and offering vague future promises only to break them later. It’s as though, by visiting security forces he’s trying to act as though he’s a limited constitutional monarch when he isn’t, and requiring the government – his 12th since assuming the throne – to take responsibility for the fuel price increase while he appears to be a neutral arbiter. Then, in a short while he’ll make vague promises of future reform and – in a show of generosity – pardon those arrested for criticizing him, in the hope that the cycle can continue indefinitely.

The cabinet announced that independent state agencies would be restructured. This includes the Executive Privatization Commission which is going to be folded into the Finance Ministry.

Protests and strikes continued today, both in Amman and around the country. According to @Freedom_Jordan, the Teachers’ Association announced that its strike would continue for another day, and the general strike had a greater impact outside the capital, in Karak and Maan than it had in Amman. All major unions except for the nurses union participated in strikes on Sunday, including the doctors’ union, although that union made provision for emergency personnel to remain at work. The National Front for Reform announced that there would be a large demonstration in Amman on Friday, November 30th.

Once again, today’s summary includes sections about developments around Jordan. If you witness any developments, do not hesitate to tweet to us at @ImpatientBedu or email us using our contact us form. Let us know if you do not want to be mentioned by name.

Amman

According to @freedom_jordan, protests in Amman were scheduled to begin at the Abu Hanifeh mosque, and at the Hussein mosque in Jebel al-Hussein. The protest in Jebel al-Hussein walked to the Nuzha area. There was also another protest beginning at Tafaileh neighborhood, which headed downtown. Demonstrators chanted that they were proclaiming a republic, and police responded by attacking the demonstration. However, all the demonstrations in Amman ended peacefully.

Karak

Two protests were held in Karak. The general strike had a greater impact here than in Amman, according to @freedom_jordan.

Maan

According to @freedom_jordan, the general strike had a greater impact here than in Amman.

Tafileh

According to @taylor_luck, there were hundreds of demonstrators protesting in Tafileh today.

It’s Not Real Reform If You Can’t Criticize the King

Image by World Economic Forum

The security forces are reported to be interrogating 130 detainees whom they have determined are to be detained for 15 days. These detainees, who were arrested during protests this week might be charged with “threatening to undermine the regime.” The charges, if someone is convicted of them, carry a potential prison sentence of five years. Reuters reports that many of those being interrogated are teenagers. The Washington Post, meanwhile, says that Jordan’s military prosecutor has charged 89 protesters with “inciting violent revolt,” which carries a potential 15 year jail sentence.

The Reuters report tempers the jail sentences the activists face by saying “convictions in such cases are rare” and that during recent demonstrations last winter there were dozens of protesters who faced similiar charges who received pardons. One example is Uday Abu Issa, only 18 years old, who was sentenced to two years in prison for “undermining the King’s dignity” after he burned a picture of King Abdullah.

He was convicted on January 28th, 2012. About a month later, on February 29th, King Abdullah pardoned him. This means that he still spent more than thirty days in jail simply for burning a picture, which he said when interrogated that he did in solidarity with an unemployed man who set himself on fire due to his poverty. His action – burning the King’s picture – was deemed so threatening that he needed to be prosecuted for it. In a truly free society, if someone burned a picture of the King, nothing would happen.

Dignity is something that’s earned, not something that can be protected by the threat of jail time. In a true constitutional monarchy, if a critic of King Abdullah called for his removal, someone who disagrees with them should express their own opinion, argue with them, and say why constitutional monarchy is a good idea – not by threatening to have that person arrested.

To have true reform and democracy – rather than just token steps to buy time – all institutions, and the monarchy is no exception, must rest upon the will of the people, under laws agreed upon and passed by a democratically elected parliament with real power, with a Prime Minister chosen by such a parliament, where none of these institutions can be suspended or dissolved simply by royal decree. Until Jordan has that, any token measures that the government announces are merely cosmetic.

Day 5: Ensour Refuses to Back Down, Protests Continue (Update 1)

(Update 1: November 17, 2012) It is now Day 5 since the people began to rise up in protest following the government’s decision to raise the price of fuel. We still have heard no public statements from King Abdullah, and the government shows no intention of listening to the will of the people, and protests continued today, with strikes scheduled to begin tomorrow. Numerous rallies were held today in Amman in the evening. The government still is seeming to hope that if it ignores the will of the people for long enough that the protests will go away, and they can return to their usual strategy of stalling while making repeated promises of reform, while doing little to nothing.

Today, Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour spoke to reporters and defended the government’s decision to eliminate the fuel subsidies, and gave a television interview at 8:30pm (Amman time). We found this on his Twitter account @drensour (which is in Arabic). Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh is also scheduled for an interview on Sky News.

Part of the reason why we haven’t heard a great deal from the government may be that the Prime Minister is unfamiliar with Twitter. His account, as mentioned above is @drensour, but it’s not verified (so all I can actually do is presume that it’s really him and his staff updating it) and has only (as of now) about 700 followers, and his description still says “Member of Parliament.” Perhaps he decided that since Prime Ministers generally don’t last that long anyway, he might as well save the time and not update his Twitter account.

In the afternoon, he met with the board of the Jordanian Professional Teachers Association (JTA), in an attempt to persuade them not to strike tomorrow, but at a subsequent meeting later in the evening JTA head Mustafa Rawashdeh announced that the one-day strike would go forward on Sunday and urged parents not to send their children to school. He said that although the Prime Minister requested the meeting he “did not have anything new to say.”  However, Rawashdeh called for reform and said he rejected calls for the overthrow of the regime, but called for reformist protests to continue peacefully.

According to @Freedom_Jordan, the Prime Minister agreed at the meeting to release teachers who were detained during the protests, and they were released later. However he reports that there are still more than 250 detainees, including a young man named Laith Rawashdeh who is only fifteen years old.

He also said in a tweet a short time ago that the teachers are in fact going to participate in an open-ended strike along with the professional associations for engineers and agricultural teachers, although we do not have other confirmation of this yet. He also reports that student unions at universities and other youth movements throughout Jordan are planning to hold an open-ended strike as well.

Much of the media seems to take a dismissive attitude towards what is taking place. David Kirkpatrick, who writes for the New York Times said that “A wave of demonstrations against King Abdullah II set off by an increase in fuel prices appeared to reach its peak on Friday without having won any concessions from the monarchy.” As though the goal of the demonstrations were to beg for concessions from the King and that the people would go home when he didn’t make any. The King assumes that he’s going to be able to get away with the same tactics again but eventually they wear out – as the people have become aware of the government making the same broken promises over and over again.

This daily update has sections for each area where events have taken place. As we obtain more information we will add it to the respective section. If you witness any developments don’t hesitate to contact us or tweet to us on Twitter @ImpatientBedu, and we can add the information here. If you provide us with information and request anonymity we will publish the information without naming you as the source.

Amman

According to @Freedom_Jordan Protests were scheduled to take place this evening after Isha prayers (which started at about 7:06pm local time) in numerous neighborhoods, including a large demonstration Ashrafiyyeh, Ras El, Jebel al-Jofeh, Wehdat, and a joint demonstration from Jafaileh and Mahasreh. The protesters from Wehdat later joined those in Ashrafiyyeh. Protesters chanted against the regime and said that they would not stand outside the palace and beg. @joanarchists reports that plain-clothes security forces attempted to arrest protesters at the Ashrafiyyeh rally.

During the protests police attempted to arrest hunger striker Abdullah Mahadeen along with other activists but they failed to do so, @Freedom_Jordan reports.

Irbid

The Yarmouk University Student Union, as we mentioned yesterday, plans to hold an open strike beginning Sunday, citing its opposition to the government’s decision to raise fuel prices. The University administration has announced that despite the strike classes will be held as scheduled.

Maan

Al-Hussein University said that classes would be held as scheduled despite a student strike for tomorrow.

Tafileh

Tafileh Technical University’s Student Union announced that a strike would be held on Sunday while the university claims that classes will go forward.

Zarqa

Zarqa Private University announced that classes would go forward as scheduled and urged students not to participate in the student strike scheduled for tomorrow.