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Thousands march in Jordan, calling for reform

Demonstrators shout during a protest against Egypt's President Mubarak in front of the Egyptian embassy in Amman
Demonstrators shout during a protest against Egypt's President Mubarak in front of the Egyptian embassy in Amman Reuters

Thousands of Jordanians marched in Amman and other cities to press for reform and the government’s resignation, as unrest ripples through Tunisia and Egypt.

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People chanted “Egypt, the Arab nation salutes you. We urge your men to get rid of Mubarak,” as they marched through central Amman after Friday prayers.

Protesters are demanding political reform, better living conditions and the resignation of the country’s unpopular Prime Minister Samir Rifai. They have so far refrained from calling for the ouster of Jordanian King Abdullah II.

Police say around 2,000 gathered in several other towns across Jordan, including Irbid, Karak, Maan and Diban.

No clashes with police, which handed out water and juice in the capital, were reported.

The protesters were answering a call from the powerful Muslim Brotherhood group, which is demanding political and economic reforms in the country.

“It’s time for change. People can no longer accept corruption. We do not want a government of aristocrats, merchants and the rich,” Muslim Brotherhood leader Hammam Said told demonstrators.

The king, a key US ally, has been making promises of reform in recent days in an attempt to quell the protests. His prime minister has announced a 400 million euro package of new subsidies in the last two weeks for fuel and staple foods such as rice, sugar and livestock.

Parliament says it will be amending the elections law soon, a move seen as a concession to the Muslim opposition.
 

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