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Jordan activists stage anti-Mubarak demo

Jan. 29, 2011 5:48 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 30, 2011 8:03 P.M.)
AMMAN (AFP) -- Dozens of Islamists and trade unionists staged a noisy protest outside the Egyptian embassy in Amman on Saturday in support of "the people of Egypt" and against the regime of President Hosni Mubarak.

"Mubarak, you are a traitor and an American agent," the 70-strong crowd chanted, even as thousands of protesters in Egypt took to the streets for a fifth straight day to demand Mubarak's ouster.

"Hosni Mubarak, Saudi Arabia awaits you," the Jordanian activists chanted, referring to the country which has sheltered Tunisian strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali after he was toppled earlier this month in the so-called "Jasmine Revolution" that has been the inspiration for the Egyptian revolt.

"We say to the Americans, 'do not interfere'," Hamam Said, head of the Muslim Brotherhood, told reporters at the rally. "Your control which has lasted 100 years is finished. We are living in a new era."

He urged the Jordanian authorities "to draw lessons from the events [in Egypt] and start political reforms, because the people want to have a voice and to be able to express their opinion."

Anti-government protests have been staged in Jordan after weekly Friday prayers for the past three weeks.

The Muslim Brotherhood has called for constitutional amendments to curb the king's power in naming government heads, arguing that the premiership should go to the leader of the majority in parliament.

The Jordanian constitution, adopted in 1952, gives the king the exclusive prerogative to appoint and dismiss the prime minister.

King Abdullah II held meetings earlier this week with senior officials, MPs, senators and others as part of efforts to "come closer to the demands of the people," urging them to speed up political and socio-economic reforms.

The government has announced it was pumping around 500 million dollars into the economy in a bid to help living conditions.

The Islamists and Jordan's 14 trade unions, which group more than 200,000 members, say the government's new measures are inadequate as poverty levels are running at 25 percent in the desert kingdom.
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