Friday, October 5, 2012

Thousands Protest In Jordan - Friday Prayers End In Riots On Temple Mount

In Biggest Protest, Jordan Islamists Demand Change

Thousands of Jordanian Islamists marched on Friday in the largest demonstration since Arab Spring-inspired protests erupted last year, calling on King Abdullah to accelerate democratic reforms.At least 15,000 protesters from across the country flocked to the main street leading to the Husseini mosque in downtown Amman after Friday prayers and chanted: "Listen Abdullah, our demands are legitimate" and "People want to reform the regime."
Sheikh Hamam Said, head of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, said a move by the monarch to dissolve a rubber-stamp, tribal-dominated parliament on Thursday to set the stage for elections expected early next year did not go far enough.Heavily populated cities, the Islamists' traditional strongholds, are grossly under-represented, they say.The electoral law keeps intact a system that marginalizes the representation of Jordanians of Palestinian origin, whom Islamists rely upon for their support, in favor of native Jordanians who maintain a tight grip on power and are the backbone of the powerful security forces and army.

Riots broke out on the Temple Mount on Friday afternoon as hundreds of Muslim worshipers threw stones at police officers, following a week of confrontations between right-wing Jews and Muslims on the site.Police arrested 14 Jews and Arabs during the past week,including Likud activist Moshe Feiglin, for various incidents involving violence and refusing to obey police officers.Towards the end of Friday prayers, hundreds of Muslim worshipers streamed out of the mosque and started throwing stones at the soldiers and border police, according to Jerusalem deputy police spokesman Shlomit Bajshi.

Rioters also threw rocks in the direction of the Western Wall plaza below, but police officers were able to stop them before any rocks were thrown at Jewish worshipers below.Police anticipated possible disturbances on the Temple Mount, heightening security and bringing extra units of police, border police, and soldiers both in the area of the Temple Mount and at Mugrahbi gate, said Rosenfeld.Rosenfeld said that police are expecting a "wave of arrests" in the coming days against people involved in Friday's riot.

The Rabbi of the Western Wall, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, called on the public to continue to come to the Western Wall during the Sukkot holiday, which is one of the pilgrimage holidays when observant Jews traditionally visit the Western Wall.  The Western Wall plaza was filled with thousands of worshipers during the riot on Friday and were not evacuated by police, he said.An estimated 50,000 Jews crowded into the Western Wall plaza on Wednesday morning for the "Blessing of the Preists" (Birkat Hacohanim). More than one million visitors from Israel and abroad are expected to pass through Jerusalem during the Sukkot holiday, which ends Monday.

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