Protests in Jordan turn violent after police break up rallies (VIDEO)


Jordanian protesters demanding government reforms joined an encampment at a central squarein Amman, Jordan on March 25, 2011. Dozens were injured in clashes in the protest camp between 2000 protesters and around 300 King supporters who threw rocks on them. (Salah Malkawwi/ Getty Images)


Salah Malkawi

Protests in Jordan turned violent on Friday, leaving one dead and as many as 130 injured in clashes between pro-reform protesters and government supporters in Amman.

Police used water cannons to break up clashes between students protesting to demand reforms and supporters of Jordan's King Abdullah, according to Agence France-Presse. Anti-riot police also broke up a protest camp and arrested several students, AFP reported.

Thugs widely believed to be hired by the regime attacked the protesters with sticks and stones, in scenes reminiscent of Tahrir Square, Cairo, in the last days of protests before Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak stepped down, the CSM reported.

Later, CSM reported, there were eyewitness reports of police surrounding hospitals and arresting patients and those trying to enter.

Pro-reform protests in Jordan three months ago, with Islamist, leftist, liberal and tribal figures calling for an end to the constitutional monarchy.

The government earlier this month announced the creation of the national dialogue committee in response to a call by King Abdullah to accelerate reforms. But Jordan's Islamist opposition said it would not join the panel as it would not be discussing constitutional changes to curb the monarch's powers, according to Reuters.

Friday marked the first reported death.

"Khairy Saad Jamil, 55, died today at the Prince Hamzeh Hospital" in Amman, AFP quoted a medical source as saying, though the source did not specify the cause of death. Two of those injured were in critical condition, the source said.

Earlier in the day, security forces erected a barrier near the interior ministry to keep the two sides separate.

"The [pro-monarchy] thugs were throwing stones from one side and police were attacking protesters with sticks to push them back," protester Mahmoud Hamawi told Reuters.

A Reuters cameraman says he was beaten up by pro-monarchy supporters and Jordanian security forces.