Jordan police, protesters injured in violent clashes over jobs

Three members of security forces shot with automatic rifles; unclear how many demonstrators hurt; 22 arrested

Illustrative photo of Jordanian police (photo credit: AP/Raad Adayleh)
Illustrative photo of Jordanian police (photo credit: AP/Raad Adayleh)

Jordanian police clashed with young job-seeking demonstrators south of the capital on Thursday, resulting in injuries on both sides, officials and witnesses said.

Police said three of its forces were “shot and wounded during a raid on a group of outlaws in the Dhiban region” of Madaba, 70 kilometers (40 miles) from Amman.

Witnesses said the confrontation broke out after police intervened to forcibly dismantle a tent being used for a sit-in by youths demanding jobs, wounding an unspecified number of demonstrators.

Police said it used tear gas and “adequate force” to disperse assailants who sealed off roads and hurled stones and fireworks at the local police station. Twenty-two arrests were made.

“Some of the trouble-makers and demonstrators used automatic weapons to fire directly” at police before security forces restored order, they said.

The demonstrators, on their Facebook page, said calm was restored after an accord was struck with government representatives, but they gave no details.

They posted photographs and videos of roads blocked by burning tires and of masked youths pelting police with stones.

With Jordan’s economy rattling from conflicts in neighboring Syria and Iraq, dozens of young graduates have for the past two months held an open-ended sit-in to demand jobs.

Unemployment has jumped to 14 percent of the kingdom’s population of 9.5 million, with the young the worst hit, according to government figures, while unofficial estimates put it as high as 30 percent.

Growth slumped to 2.4 percent in 2015, down from 3.1 percent the previous year.

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