police and protesters injured in jordan clashes
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Salafists demand release of Abu Sayyaf

Police and protesters injured in Jordan clashes

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Islamist protesters in Jordan following Friday prayers
Amman - AFP

Islamist protesters in Jordan following Friday prayers Jordanian police fired tear gas at Islamist protesters Friday after six officers were stabbed and seriously wounded, as more than 1,000 people demonstrated in Amman, demanding reforms and the ouster of the prime minister. \"Forty policemen were injured, including six stabbed, as they tried to disperse a demonstration by Islamist Salafists in Zarqa,\" Khatib said. \"The six policemen are in serious condition.\"
Khatib said police \"had to fire tear gas after a group of Islamist Salafists attacked some citizens following their demonstration in Zarqa, accusing them of being atheists.\"
News websites said dozens of Islamist protesters were injured in the clashes.
The Salafists have been demonstrating over the past few weeks to demand the release of 90 Islamist prisoners, including Abu Mohammed al-Maqdessi, the onetime mentor of slain Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
Zarqawi, who hailed from Zarqa, was killed in an air strike northeast of Baghdad in 2006.
The group has also called for the release of Mohammad Shalabi, better known as Abu Sayyaf, who is in prison after being convicted on terrorism charges following riots in the restive southern city of Maan in 2002.
The Salafists espouse an austere form of Sunni Islam that seeks a return to practices that were common in the early days of the faith.
Earlier in Amman, more than 1,000 people demonstrated after midday prayers, demanding \"regime reforms,\" Prime Minister Maaruf Bakhit\'s ouster and the dissolution of parliament.
\"The people want to reform the regime and eliminate corruption. Jordan is free, Bakhit, get out,\" demonstrators chanted as they marched from Al-Husseini mosque in the city centre to the nearby city hall.
Holding large national flags, the protesters carried banners reading \"the people want democracy and social justice\" and \"we want to dissolve parliament.\"
The demonstration was organised by the powerful Muslim Brotherhood and its political arm, the Islamic Action Front (IAF), as well as leftist and other opposition parties.
\"The demonstrations will continue until reforms are achieved,\" Jamil Abu Baker, Brotherhood spokesman, told AFP.
\"So far, we cannot see any (government) intention to carry out reforms. The people are determined to have real reforms and get rid of corruption.\"
Hundreds of March 24 youth movement members, who were attacked last month by government supporters in clashes that killed one man and injured 160, held a sit-in outside the city hall, calling for general reforms and singing national songs.
Around 200 policemen were deployed as dozens of government supporters gathered in the area.Pro-reform demonstrations were held in other, such as Karak and Maan in the south, and Zaraqa and Irbid in the north.
On Thursday, the US embassy in Amman told Americans to avoid areas of protests, saying that \"even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence.\"
Jordan has been the scene of three months of protests calling for political and economic reforms as well as the stamping out of corruption.

  

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