Yesterday, around 300 protesters outside the Ministry Of Agriculture were protesting the import of Israeli goods and found themselves beaten by Gendarmerie Forces. Their crime was that they didn’t have permission to protest. How did the government react to the protesters being beaten?
By publically declaring (with a straight face) that the protesters, essentially, didn’t have the right paperwork.
As most know, to protest or demonstrate or rally or march or heck, to get together in a large group in Jordan, you have to, by way of the Public Gatherings Law, get permission from the government, specifically the governor. Boy, I wish I had numbers as to how many applications are approved and denied in a single year, but you can probably guess what the governor’s answer is to most of the political applications.
Suffice to say, every time a protest gets dispersed and a government official invokes the infamous “it was illegal” declaration, it only serves to remind Jordanians that our constitutional right to speak our minds is getting its frequent trampling on, and it only serves to remind the rest of the world that we live in a country that applies laws resembling that of a police state.
Ironically, there’s also a law somewhere against tarnishing the image of the country or undermining the state’s dignity. I’m almost sure there is.
Anyways, I guess this isn’t the right time to wonder what ever happened to “freedom square”?
Video of the protest (fast forward to 4:30min)