Jordan | A Measured Spring

Everyone wants change in the Hashemite Kingdom, but no one wants to topple the king

01 May 2012
Jordanians gather after Friday prayers outside the al-Husseini Mosque in Amman to demonstrate against rising unemployment and government graft.
COURTESY MYA GUARNERI
Jordanians gather after Friday prayers outside the al-Husseini Mosque in Amman to demonstrate against rising unemployment and government graft.
COURTESY MYA GUARNERI

FRIDAY NOON PRAYERS FIND THE FAITHFUL SPILLING out of al-Husseini Mosque in downtown Amman. They crowd the street and sidewalks, bowing between vendors. Four men kneel alongside a folding table loaded down with silver faucets, showerheads and handles. Others prostrate themselves next to a display of cheap plastic shoes. Those who can’t afford prayer rugs kneel on crushed cardboard boxes.

Some men don’t even have cardboard: They bow and put their heads on the asphalt.

As prayers end, the people rise—and the protest begins. Members of the Jabhat al-’Amal al-Islami (Islamic Action Front—IAF—a powerful political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, and Jordan’s biggest opposition party, which Parliament is now seeking to ban) organise the demonstrators in neat lines which, slowly, make their way down the street. The crowd, which numbers about 1,000, comprises mostly men. A small group of women brings up the rear of the procession.

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    Mya Guarnieri is a Jerusalem-based journalist and writer whose work has appeared in dozens of international outlets.

    Keywords: protests monarchy Jordan Amman Muslim Brotherhood Islamic Action Front Palestinians East Bankers
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