Jordan’s Islamists Rally for Reforms

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Hundreds of Islamists rallied in Jordan on Friday to demand sweeping government reforms, vowing to step up their protests if their demands are ignored.

Surrounded by a cordon of police, they chanted "The people want regime reforms," and "What is acceptable today will not be tomorrow," as well as "We want the dissolution of parliament."

The Islamists estimated about 1,500 people took to the streets of Zarka, an Islamist stronghold around 25 kilometers northeast of the capital Amman. Police said there were 500.

"We will increase our claims to the point that it will no longer be acceptable for the regime," Zaki Bani Rsheid of Jordan's powerful Islamic opposition said in a speech to the crowd.

Bani Rsheid, who heads the political office of the Islamic Action Front, reiterated a call for parliament to be dissolved and the right to elect a government.

Speaking to Agence France Presse earlier, Bani Rsheid reaffirmed the IAF's refusal to take part in any dialogue with the government due to its doubts about the regime's desire to bring major reforms.

"We will not participate in the commission of national dialogue because we feel that there is no real will by the regime to initiate reforms," he said.

"We want constitutional reforms, not only amendments to the electoral law and party politics. Under such circumstances, we will not participate in the dialogue."

Jordanians have been protesting for weeks to demand political and economic reforms, inspired by popular revolts in Tunisia and Egypt. But Prime Minister Maaruf Bakhit rejected calls for a constitutional monarchy.

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