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Calm restored after clashes in Mafraq
By JT , AFP - Dec 23,2011 - Last updated at Dec 23,2011
AMMAN – Calm was restored to the northeastern city of Mafraq where Islamists demonstrators and counter-protesters clashed after Friday prayers, witnesses told The Jordan Times.
The witnesses said a group of protesters attacked the premises of the Muslim Brotherhood in the city following the clashes, which prompted police to interfere by firing teargas.
"Police had to fire tear gas after around 300 Islamists clashed with thousands of members of the Bani Hassan tribe," police spokesman Mohammad Khatib told AFP.
"Dozens from all sides, including police, were injured. But the injuries are minor," he said without elaborating.
Witnesses said several shops received damages during the clashes.
"Demonstrators sought refuge in a mosque in Mafraq," said one witness.
"Abdul Majid Khawaldeh, the Islamist representative in the city, was among the injured," he said, adding "the situation is still tense."
Bani Hassan, one of Jordan's largest tribes, warned Islamists on Thursday against demonstrating in Mafraq, accusing them of "trying to sow sedition."
Pro-reform rallies also took place in central Amman and other parts of Jordan, where opposition Islamists, youth groups and other parties have been protesting since January, demanding political and economic change and an end to corruption.
In addition, there were demonstrations to express support for the government’s pro-reform efforts and the ongoing anti-corruption drive which witnessed the referral of several files to courts of law and Parliament, Petra news agency reported.
Meanwhile, around 3,000 people held a sit-in outside the Syrian embassy in Amman, urging an end to bloodshed in Jordan's northern neighbour, where more than 5,000 have been killed, according to UN figures.
Calling on Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down, the demonstrators urged Jordan to expel Damascus's ambassador to Amman.
Clashes erupted between pro-reform demonstrators and counter-protesters in downtown Amman on Friday, the latest in a series of what activists claim are coordinated attacks designed to bring an end to the year-old movement.
Calm returned to Mafraq on Saturday after a Friday of clashes between Bani Hassan tribesmen and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood in which the movement's headquarters in the northeastern city was set on fire.
In stark contrast to the dramatic sea of political change that has swept the region, the first year anniversary of Jordan’s first pro-reform protest was a subdued affair.
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