Protests Near Israeli Embassy Turn Ugly

السبت 10 كانون الثاني 2009

7iber – While protests broke out all over the Kingdom, it seems most of the attention was drawn to a very small corner in Amman – the emerging protests by the Kaluti Mosque in the Rabia district. Right after the Friday prayer, a sea of people shouting at the top of their lungs came out to join an ever-growing crowd.

Police were simply everywhere. A human barricade of riot police kept pushing people back every time they got too close for comfort. Every now and then, you could here the sound of a stampede as young men stomped their feet and charged the line, being immediately pushed back by the authorities. Those in uniform seemed to match the number of protesters, who were likely in the thousands.

Every so often, various objects would be thrown at the police: a small rock or even a shoe. In the crowd, Jordanian and Palestinian flags were flying high, as well as one Venezuelan flag. People waved pictures of Saddam, Hugo Chavez and Arafat almost simultaneously. On the roofs of the buildings overlooking the crowd below, people gathered for a better look, and on one occasion, burned an Israeli flag much to everyone’s delight.

The event seemed like a game of cat and mouse. The protesters would push forward, and the police would push back. Suddenly, push came to shove, and the cat took the bait.

Eventually, the show came to a close when protesters and police collided one too many times. Tear gas was the velvet curtain descending, as protesters scattered out of harms way. People were chased down the main road and past the side streets. Within minutes, this section of the Rabia district was quarantined, with police at every corner, blocking paths of entry. Within the hour, water cannons were unleashed on the tents of the main protest site that had occupied the space behind the Kaluti Mosque for over ten days.

Tear gas canisters rolled down the streets and the cold wind blew their smoke in every direction. Protesters took to the side streets, approaching the main road every so often before fleeing once again at the sight of the police. Protesters continued to linger in the area, while many fled the district entirely. In the end, the police had moved their trucks in to the tent-area, with the municipal workers brought in to sweep the streets as well as throw the tents, and Styrofoam tombstones that had been based there for days, all in the garbage. Everything was swept away in an instant.

If you have pictures or video of the events on Friday, please send them to [email protected].

Laith Majali took these brilliant photos from the event.

Here are a few videos of the protests during the early afternoon:

Part I

Part II

Part III


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