Saturday, July 22, 2006


All Jordan’s news these days seems to revolve around the issue of demonstrations. We have had demonstrations every Friday for a while now. Yesterday there were at least four (in Amman, Irbid, Ajloun and the Beqa’a refugee camp). Leftists are complaining that the government allowed for the MB to stage demonstrations, but couldn’t spare a couple of guys to monitor their own outpouring.

So the Arab street is rumbling! Look out. We are MAD now!

Maybe it is important to “let off steam”, as many commentators describe these events. The Jordanian constitution allows for freedom of assembly in paragraph 1 of article 16, which states that:

“Jordanians shall have the right to hold meetings within the limits of the law”.

Of course, the limits of the law are the rub. The public meetings law gives wide discretion to the governor to approve or reject public meetings, with no obligations to explain his decision. As might be imagined, most meetings are in fact rejected, and Yasser Abu Hillaleh rightly rips into this law that effectively drains that constitutional provision of its meaning.

The rationale is that demonstrations can get out of control, and riots at the beginning of the second intifada resulted in large scale vandalism in the Beqa’a refugee camp and in the affluent Abdoun neighborhood.

Today Omar Kullab at Al Anbat pointed out how disciplined the demonstrations have been, suggesting that the government should start treating people like grown ups. It seems obvious that if people are to riot, they will not wait for an approval from the governor. Hell, if I was in charge, I would force the parties to have demonstrations every day.

I wonder what happened to freedom square.



At 8:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nas 3z wa nas mezah.

At 12:38 AM, Blogger Betqa said...

I'm here in Montreal visiting my mom and there have been demonstrations going on every day as well (supporting each side of the conflict). I'm not Arab nor Lebanese but have been going to show my solidarity and support for the Lebanese and Palestinian people. I feel kind of helpless in the amount I can do, but have been trying with everyday stuff like buying whatever products I can find from Lebanon when doing food shopping and the like.


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