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Anti-festive firing campaign yields fruit

By Rana Husseini - Sep 22,2015 - Last updated at Sep 22,2015

Tribal leaders, civil society representatives and activists in Tafileh Governorate, some 180 kilometres southwest of Amman, sign an honour pact on Tuesday to put an end to firing bullets in the air as a means of celebration on various occasions (Photo courtesy of Amen FM)

AMMAN — The Public Security Department (PSD) on Tuesday said a recent campaign to curb festive shooting is paying off.

“We have not registered any major incident since we launched a serious campaign in August,” said director of Amen FM (89.5FM), the radio station of the PSD, Lt. Colonel Maen Al Khasawneh. 

Following the injury of a six-year-old girl, the radio station launched the initiative “Do not Kill With Your Happiness,” with the aim of highlighting the negative consequences of festive firing.

The campaign intensified following the shooting death of another child a few weeks later in an incident that was captured on a mobile and went viral in cyberspace.

“The aim behind our initiative was to make people aware that celebrations should not bring pain and sorrow to others,” Khasawneh said. 

The police official praised the cooperation shown by citizens, tribal and community leaders, associations, the media and activists for contributing to the campaign.

“We have sensed a high level of awareness within our community all over the Kingdom with many pledging to refrain from firing live bullets during their weddings to others who pledged to boycott any wedding that includes festive firing,” Khasawneh explained.

He added that many citizens took the initiative to report to police shooting incidents at weddings and other festivities.

“We even have witnessed in some places people hanging banners over streets near their weddings stating that wedding shooters were not welcome,” the police official said.

But the police official was quick to point out that this “dangerous phenomenon cannot end overnight”.

“The fact that the number of such incidents has dropped and more people are rejecting this practice is a success achieved not only through the efforts of the station, but also due to the awareness of the public,” Khasawneh stressed.
“It is also the beginning of the change that we hope will end this phenomenon forever,” Khasawneh stated.

During a meeting in late August with dignitaries representing Amman communities, His Majesty King Abdullah stressed that no one is above the law. “Even if it were my son who is shooting… I would ask security bodies to take the same measures against him.”

Also in August, the PSD announced stiff measures against violators, including locking up any groom whose wedding includes festive shooting.

The PSD pledged to conduct campaigns in various governorates and arrest any person who owns a gun without a licence and/or arrest people who fire weapons on any occasion, and individuals who sell weapons and ammunition for this purpose.

According to official figures released last October, three people were killed and 41 injured by festive firing in 2014.

 

At least 21 cases were registered last year against anonymous assailants, where shooters could not be identified, according to the PSD.

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