Clashes have erupted in Jordan between police and people protesting against coronavirus-related restrictions.
Hundreds of protesters in several cities, including the capital, Amman, on Monday called for an end to the state of emergency that has been in place since last year to help curb the spread of the virus, as well as the resignation of the government.
Civic groups say the emergency laws violate civil and political rights.
Reuters cited witnesses and residents as saying that police used tear gas to disperse the protesters, who defied a night curfew, which has been extended several times since it was imposed a year ago, most recently on Saturday amid an increase in coronavirus cases in the country.
Jordan on Monday registered 9,417 new coronavirus infections, bringing the total number of cases to 486,470, including 5,428 deaths in the country of 10 million people.
According to the witnesses, dozens of activists were arrested in several cities and towns on Monday.
The protests also came amid anger over the death of nine patients, mostly suffering from COVID-19, on Saturday, when a hospital in the northwestern town of Salt ran out of oxygen.
The incident forced the Jordanian health minister to resign, and triggered protests in Amman and other cities on Sunday.
In televised comments on Monday, Jordan’s King Abdullah vowed to hold those behind the incident in Salt accountable.
VIDEO: Protesters clash with police in Jordan's capital Amman amid a second night of demonstrations against health restrictions, even as the country posted a record high number of coronavirus cases pic.twitter.com/gs16T9UOrK— AFP News Agency (@AFP) March 16, 2021
Abdullah further said he understood that people were facing difficulties due to the pandemic, but he warned of dissidents’ attempts to sow discord.
Jordan last year suffered its worst recession in decades as a result of the pandemic.
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