Jordan police blame protesters, media for violence
AFP, Thursday 21 Jul 2011
Jordan police report cites protester insults and Islamist calls for violence as cause for "actions of some policemen" at protest outside city hall on Friday

A Jordanian police report blamed demonstrators and the media on Wednesday for violence five days ago when policemen violently broke up a sit-in in Amman, as the protesters insisted on their reform demands.

"Police tried to convince some demonstrators to go to the location of the sit-in (last) Friday, but they started to curse the policemen in a very insulting way to their honour," said the report on a probe into the incidents.

"The actions of some policemen were influenced by insults, tensions and media incitement to violence prior to the sit-in as well as a Muslim Brotherhood fatwa (religious edict) calling for violence and martyrdom on that day."

At least 17 people, including journalists and policemen, were injured when police tried to stop clashes between pro-reform demonstrators and government supporters in central Amman.

Police used batons and other instruments, including a barbecue grill and a ladder, to break up the clashes outside city hall, beating and injuring at least nine journalists wearing orange vests marked "Press."

"There was a five-minute period of chaos, when some of the unarmed policemen got enraged at the insults and clashed with demonstrators," said the report.

"Some journalists did not wear their special vests and were hurt as a result of stampede during the clashes. Policemen beat them because they were in a fit of fury and did not differentiate between journalists and protesters."

The report said "more time is needed for further investigation and determining those who beat the demonstrators and journalists."

"Suspects must be put on trial in line with penal and public security laws."

The police department said on Saturday that four of its members suspected of attacking journalists had been arrested.

The announcement of the findings came as around 150 youths from the same group that was attacked on Friday demonstrated outside the interior ministry to emphasise their reform demands, calling for the "intelligence services to stop interfering in our lives."

"We are not seeking to topple the regime. Our demands are clear to everybody," Omar Abu Rassaa, a spokesman for the group, told AFP.

"Our demonstrations will continue until the regime is reformed, whether the government likes it or not. Our demands must be acknowledged and recognised."

The Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders have condemned the attacks on journalists and called for protecting the media.

"While the measures undertaken by Jordanian authorities are commendable, they are by no means sufficient to reverse an entrenched pattern of systematic targeting of journalists," CPJ said on Tuesday.