Jordanian police use force to break up protest by teachers

Several people were beaten with clubs and arrested as anti-riot police clashed with teachers in Amman

Jordanian public school teachers stage a rally in central Amman in late 2019 to demand higher wages. AFP
Jordanian public school teachers stage a rally in central Amman in late 2019 to demand higher wages. AFP

Jordanian anti-riot police clashed with protesting teachers in the capital Amman on Wednesday, with several demonstrators being beaten with clubs and arrested.

Hundreds of protesters headed towards the prime minister’s office were met by hundreds of riot police who pushed the crowd back as they chanted “peaceful, peaceful”, and called for the prime minister’s resignation.

Armed with clubs, police beat some of the protesters, several of whom fell to the ground after the clash. Dozens were arrested, according to an Associated Press video journalist at the scene.

The journalist, Omar Akour, said he was also beaten on the head with a club, despite telling police he was a journalist. He fell to the ground after being struck, where another policeman kicked him. Police smashed his cellphone, destroying the footage he filmed of the clashes, Akour said.

Police had blocked off the area leading to the prime minister’s office and authorities had warned before the protest that any gatherings of over 20 people, in violation of coronavirus restrictions, would draw a stern response.

The protesters turned out to oppose the arrest of 13 members of their syndicate. The arrests came after Amman’s deputy attorney general suspended the members of the Jordan Teachers Association council from service and ordered the closure of the syndicate and its branches for two years over criminal and corruption charges.

The members were arrested after threatening to stage protests over a salary dispute.

The Jordanian government agreed to increase teachers’ salaries after a month-long strike in September last year. But after restrictions related to the coronavirus outbreak hit the economy, the government postponed the salary hikes, angering the teachers. They accused the government of failing to honour the agreement.

Published: July 30, 2020 01:14 PM

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