Islamists, labor protest in Jordan

Hundreds of Islamists demonstrated in Aman, Jordan, after Friday prayers Feb. 22 to demand faster political reform after an election weeks earlier that produced a mostly pro-government parliament. Muslim Brotherhood followers marched from the main Husseini mosque to downtown Amman in the first such protest since the Jan. 23 ballot. The group boycotted the vote, saying electoral rules were loaded against it. Protesters chanted: "Reform is what is required; Justice and freedom and not these sham elections and deputies." (Daily Star, Lebanon, Feb. 22)

Labor protests and strikes are mounting in Jordan, with 901 held in 2012, an 8% increase over 2011. Prepared by the Phenix Centre for Economic and Informatics Studies in cooperation with the German Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung office in Amman, the annual report showed that nearly 760,000 workers took part in the protests, partial work stoppages and strikes. "There have been some cases of protests where the protesters threatened to commit suicide," the report said. (Jordan Times, Feb. 21)