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Jordanians hold largest demonstration in years to demand reforms

 
 
 
 
 
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Tens of thousands of Jordanian protestors take part in a demonstration to demand reforms in Amman on October 5, 2012.

Tens of thousands of Jordanians have rallied in the capital, Amman, to demand political and constitutional reforms, hours after King Abdullah II dissolved the parliament.

The “Friday to Rescue the Nation” rally was organized by Jordan’s main opposition party, the Muslim Brotherhood, and it was the largest demonstration in the country in several years.

The demonstrators called for a new electoral law, an elected government and effective anti-corruption efforts. They also demanded an independent judiciary and an end to the security services’ interference in political life.

People at the protest chanted: “We demand constitutional reforms before the people revolt. The people want to reform the regime,” and “Listen Abdullah, our demands are legitimate.”

“We have been protesting for more than 20 months and you still do not understand our demands. We do not like demonstrations, but we love Jordan,” read a banner carried by the protesters.

Jordanian king dissolved parliament and called early elections on Thursday evening without specifying a date. But Sheikh Hamam, the head of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, said the move did not go far enough and that his party will not go back on a decision to boycott future elections under the current political system.

Jordanians, who have been holding protest rallies since January 2011, want a parliamentary system where the prime minister is elected by popular vote, rather than named by the king.

They also demand that 50% of seats in the House of Representatives be allocated to party lists, but the current electoral law gives them just 17 seats, or 12%.

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