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Violence erupts in Jordan after parliament votes out MP |

AMMAN–Gunmen fired shots in the air in an Amman suburb on Sunday after parliament voted to expel a Jordanian lawmaker who had raged against power cuts and called for protests, a security source said.

The early evening unrest came a day after four police officers were wounded in clashes with supporters of MP Oussama al-Ajarma in the Naour suburb in southern Amman.

“Security forces are facing new riots and a group of people have opened fire in the air in Naour,” the source was quoted as saying on Al-Mamlaka state television.

Security forces deployed reinforcements in the district and set up checkpoints around Amman to “arrest those who violate the law” the source added.

The unrest came after parliament voted Sunday to exclude Ajarma, 40.

Ajarma had demanded a debate on electricity cuts in Amman and other districts on May 21, accusing the government of deliberately cutting power to forestall a protest march by Jordanian tribes in support of the Palestinian cause.

But his request was turned down by the speaker and Ajarma was suspended from parliament on May 27, before resigning in protest on Wednesday.

On Saturday night “four policemen were wounded and hospitalised when they intervened … to put an end to riots, the firing of shots into the air and the burning of cars” in Naour, according to public security service spokesman Amer al-Satrawi.

They were wounded by stones, but their lives were not in danger, Satrawi said in a statement.

Witnesses said the protesters were supporters of Ajarma.

Authorities said that the power failure was due to a fault on a high tension line running between Egypt and Jordan.

 Tribal factor 

Jordan has experienced several episodes of unrest in recent months, including scattered protests against a curfew and economic hardship triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

In early April, the country was rocked by an alleged plot to “destabilise” the kingdom, implicating Prince Hamzah, who is King Abdullah’s half-brother and a former crown prince.

Authorities said Hamzah’s case was resolved within the royal family, but two former officials linked to Saudi Arabia are to stand trial over that affair, state media said on Wednesday.

The tightening security against the tribal gathering supporting Ajarma has raised fears of an open confrontation between the authorities and tribes, in a social and political escalation exacerbated by the deteriorating economic situation in the country.

A file picture shows a Jordanian policeman standing guard in Karak, Jordan. (REUTERS)
A file picture shows a Jordanian policeman standing guard in Karak, Jordan. (REUTERS)

The tribes’ frustration over marginalisation has recently mounted, with some seeing themselves as victims of the difficult economic troubles and the ongoing political stalemate in Jordan.

Jordanian political analyst Malik Al-Athamneh, attributed the formation of a huge political vacuum in Jordan to the institutional absence of the state.

“The vacuum, which is associated with the absence of the state and the decay of its institutions, led to the rise of conflicting and competing forces with different interests. This is happening while the economy is facing a dead-end with accumulated deficits. Numbers do not lie but political statements always do,” Athamneh told The Arab Weekly.

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