Middle East protests: Jordan sees biggest reform rally

By Dale Gavlak
BBC News, Amman

Image caption,
Jordanians have staged protests eight Fridays in a row

Some 6,000 Jordanians have taken to the streets of Amman, in the biggest pro-democracy rally in eight weeks of protest.

Fearing a repeat of last Friday's violent clashes, more than 3,000 police were deployed in the city centre for this week's so-called day of anger.

Inspired by Tunisia and Egypt, demonstrators want greater political say and economic change at home.

Some are also voicing support for their Libyan brethren.

Waving Jordanian flags the people marched, and members of the country's largest political opposition group, the Islamic Action Front, joined them.

One protester, Amer Warat, said he was calling for lower prices, new elections and changes to the constitution which give King Abdullah absolute power.

"The authorities of the king have changed a lot, 180 degrees, so we have come peacefully to just ask for the changes. We want our rights. That's all," he says.

Mr Warat - who once worked in executive sales and is now unemployed - says he has been unable to find a job for the past two years. His wife, who works as a mid-wife, must now support his family of four, he says.

People are feeling the pinch - from rising global food prices and 12% unemployment.

For Mr Warat and the other protesters, reforms promised by Jordan's newly-appointed government earlier this month are not coming fast enough.

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