Mar 06 2011
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Islamists lead thousands in 'reform' demonstration
During the protest, which started after Friday prayers, nearly 5,000 activists called for the dissolution of Parliament and early polls under a new elections law.
The protest was held in the absence of five opposition parties, which pulled out of weekly demonstrations in order to take part in a reform "dialogue" with the government and various segments of society.
"All we want is reform within the regime. This is what the people want," Islamist leader Zaki Bani Rsheid told the Jordan Times.
Early last month, the movement suspended its participation in nationwide protests after the appointment of Marouf Bakhit as prime minister in order to give the government an opportunity to follow through on its reform pledges.
"Now we will not stop until changes have been made," Mansour said, claiming that the current Parliament "does not represent Jordanians".
Meanwhile, a group of 50 counter-protesters with unknown political affiliations marched ahead of the Islamists carrying banners bearing the image of His Majesty King Abdullah and chanting pro-government slogans.
Dozens of police officers separated the two rallies, which ended peacefully.
Islamist activists complained that the rival rally was allowed to proceed in front of the opposition protest, describing the move as an act of "intimidation".
Last month, the government endorsed an amendment to the Public Gatherings Law allowing citizens to stage events without obtaining prior permission from authorities.
The government has also formed a ministerial committee to launch a national dialogue on political reform with various segments of society, which is expected to take between three and nine months.
© Jordan Times 2011
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