Hundreds of Islamists Demonstrate Demanding Release of Detainees
Hundreds of Islamists held a sit-in outside the courthouse in the southern Jordanian town of Ma'an Sunday calling on the authorities to release four people detained following anti-Israeli protests.
A statement from the Popular and Islamic Forces in Ma'an told AFP the protest will continue until all the group's demands are met, including a call on Jordan to sever ties with Israel.
Witnesses said 500 people joined the protest outside the courthouse of Ma'an and raised banners vowing support for the Palestinian Intifada, or uprising, and the immediate closure of the Israeli embassy in Amman.
A delegation representing the protesters gave local authorities a statement addressed to the Jordanian interior minister in which the group listed three key demands:
-- the immediate release of four Ma'an residents allegedly detained by the authorities following anti-Israeli protests more than two months ago and a fifth one who they say was sentenced to one year in jail.
-- the severance of all ties with the Jewish state.
-- an end to corruption in Jordan.
The group stressed its "right to freedom of expression" and vowed to "continue with our Islamic struggle ... until justice is achieved."
Jordan was gripped by many anti-Israeli protests after the outbreak of the Palestinian uprising in September. Several Jordanians were rounded up for questioning after some of the demonstrations became violent but most of them were subsequently released.
On October 17 the authorities said 83 suspects were referred to prosecutors on charges of "sabotage" following clashes with anti-riot police earlier that month.
The authorities have since banned protests in the kingdom but they have nevertheless licensed a few demonstrations, including a peaceful pro-Intifada march that took place Friday in Amman -- AMMAN (AFP)
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