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‘Calm returns’ to Wadi Musa after riots over fraudulent investments

By Rana Husseini - May 28,2016 - Last updated at May 28,2016

A photo posted on Maan City Facebook page shows a street partially blocked by rocks in Wadi Musa on Friday (Photo courtesy of Maan City Facebook page)

AMMAN — Calm was restored in Wadi Musa, in the south of the Kingdom, on Saturday a day following acts of riots and roadblocks by hundreds of residents there, official sources said.

The incident in the city of Petra, some 235km south of Amman, led to a temporary diversion of tourist trips on Friday to the ancient city as a precautionary measure, said Maj. Wasfi Etoum, the acting spokesperson of the Public Security Department.

“We had to divert visits to other tourist destinations in the Kingdom, as well as other traffic, because on Friday noon protesters threw stones at passing vehicles, and later lit tyres and poured oil on the road,” Etoum told The Jordan Times.

Gendarmerie forces were dispatched to the area and fired tear gas to disperse the protesters, the police official said.

The protesters were demanding swift government action to retrieve their money from individuals who conned them into giving substantial amounts of money to implement fraudulent investments last year.

Several individuals were arrested in the alleged fraud of Wadi Musa residents but the case is still in the judiciary’s hands, the police official explained.

Etoum added that at night, protesters threw more stones and attacked vehicles and properties, taking advantage of the darkness.

“The situation now is under control and traffic is back to normal,” the police official added.

He said one individual was arrested and arrest orders were issued against 30 others involved in the riots.

“Some people in the town called for a peaceful demonstration, which turned into a riot because of a group of ‘troublemakers’ who used social media to urge people to take their money back by force,” Ibrahim Hilalat, an area resident, told The Jordan Times over the phone.  

“Some protesters poured oil street curves, which caused some accidents,” Hilalat added

Jaafar Falahat, a resident and a tourism facility employee, said that “a shop that was burnt belongs to a man who promised to give people their money back by January 1 and didn’t give anything back”. 

“People did nothing as a response, until he provoked them by suing customers who previously took items from his shop and couldn’t pay him back,” Falahat claimed.

 

Ahmed Bani Mustafa contributed to this report.

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