Thousands of Jordanians took to the streets of Amman to demand political reform yesterday, in the strongest warning to date that the country's monarchy may not yet escape the threat of the Arab Spring.
People from the Islamic Action Front and other opposition parties demonstrate to demand
political reforms, in Amman
The demonstration was the largest in Jordan in years with an estimated 10,000 people gathering outside the Al-Husseini mosque.
The chants echoed those used by the demonstrators in neighbouring Syria in the early days of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad 18 months ago: "The people want the reform of the regime".
Unlike the Middle East's toppled dictators, the king has sought to abate the flames of an uprising by avoiding force against demonstrators. At past rallies held by anti-government Salafists, soldiers have been known to distribute water bottles to the crowds. A counter-rally in support of the monarchy and its reforms that was expected to also draw thousands was cancelled on Friday in a move to see-off possible violent clashes.
We have learned that we cannot live alone, at peace; that our own well-being is dependent on the well-being of other nations far away. ... We have learned to be citizens of the world, members of the human community. ... We shall strive for perfection. ... We may make mistakes, but they must never be mistakes which result from faintness of heart or abandonment of moral principle.