Jordan police clash with anti-Israel protesters


Police fired teargas at more than 2,000 angry protesters on Friday to prevent them from approaching the Israeli embassy in the Jordanian capital Amman in a demonstration against Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Water cannons were also used to disperse some of the protesters who had set off after Friday prayers from Kaloti mosque for the embassy, about a kilometre (less than a mile) away in western Amman.

Five people were arrested as demonstrators clashed with police and threw onions and stones at them.

A young Spanish man, who appeared to be bleeding, said he took part in the demonstration and police beat him on the head with a baton.

Al-Jazeera television correspondent in Amman Yasser Abu Hlaleh told the network that he and members of his crew were beaten by police.

"The cameraman is currently being hospitalized after police beat him. His camera and mobile phone were confiscated," he said.

Wearing traditional Palestinian keffiyeh and carrying Palestinian and Jordanian flags, the protesters chanted "No Israeli embassy on Arab territory," and "Arab rulers are cowards."

Israel established an embassy in Amman soon after Jordan signed a peace treaty with the Jewish state in 1994. It was the second Arab state to sign such a treaty after Egypt.

Protesters also carried banners that read "Gaza 2009: Your Majesties and Excellencies Arab Leaders, Happy New Massacre," and torched Israeli flags. A group of children carried a banner saying "Stop killing our little friends."

Residents in surrounding buildings stood on their balconies waving national and Palestinian flags.

In another demonstration, more than 150,000 people gathered in a square in Tabarbur in east Amman in support of Gaza, demanding Jordan expel the Israeli ambassador.

"We don't want to clash with police near the Israeli embassy and we don't want to burn the Israeli flag. We want the Israeli ambassador kicked out of Jordan," Muslim Brotherhood leader Hammam Saeed told the crowds.

"What happens in Gaza is a war between Islam and its enemies."

A woman set ablaze pictures of US President George W. Bush and Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas.

Nearly 800 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since Israel launched its its offensive on December 27.