Journalists sue police over beatings in Jordan

The Jordan Press Association (JPA) says it plans to sue police after 15 journalists were clubbed, punched and kicked as they covered a pro-democracy demonstration in Amman on Friday.

The announcement comes a day after four policemen suspected of attacking the journalists were arrested, Al Jazeera reported.

The attacks reportedly began when police tried to stop clashes between pro-reform demonstrators and government supporters in central Amman. Police used batons to disperse the clashes outside city hall, beating and injuring at least nine journalists, an AFP reporter at the scene said Friday.

An AFP photographer, a female Islamist activist and Al Jazeera's senior journalist in Jordan were among the injured. "We were beaten by police, although we were wearing special press vests," said the photographer. "We thought we would be safe when we stood next to the police and away from the clashes."

A photographer who works for another international news agency said he was ordered by police not to take pictures, while New York Times reporter Kareem Fahim was beaten by 10 policemen, AFP reported.

The protest was organized by youth groups and attended by labor unions and the Muslim Brotherhood, and began after Friday Prayer at the Husseini Mosque, the New York Times reported. By early afternoon, hundreds were marching through a market district chanting, “The people want to reform the government,” and “We are citizens, not subjects.”

Police officers surrounded the march and demonstrators faced off against a group of government loyalists. At one point, dozens of police officers charged the group, swinging batons.

During a protest in March, one person was killed and more than a hundred people were injured, but for the most part, the demonstrations in Jordan have not been as large or had the impact of those in Egypt and Tunisia.

Opposition leaders have blamed King Abdullah II for offering "inadequate concessions", including a vague promise that the country’s prime minister would be elected, not appointed, in the future.

Pro-reform protesters say they will escalate their protests.