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Teacher leaders, MPs exchange accusations after Parliament brawl

By Raed Omari - Apr 25,2018 - Last updated at Apr 25,2018

AMMAN — MPs and teachers on Wednesday traded accusations of starting a brawl and verbal insults during a meeting at the Lower House earlier in the day.

The Lower House's Administrative Committee, which invited the Teachers Association's Council to a hearing at the Chamber to discuss their dispute with the government over a number of demands, said that the teachers came already "tensed and angry" to the meeting and they started insulting the MPs present.

The association said the exact opposite, claiming that two deputies, "minutes, after the meeting", started using an abusive language against the teacher leaders "in defense of the government”.

In a statement on Wednesday, head of the House panel, MP Marzouq Edajah, said that members of the association's council were explaining their demands from the government during the meeting and "MPs present were listening carefully with unmistakable support".

"All of a sudden and to our utmost surprise, one of the council's members started insulting the attendees and directing accusations at them. At this point, MP Issa Khashashneh, with complete prudence, asked him to stop," Edajah said.

In the statement, a copy of which was seen by The Jordan Times, the lawmaker said that the council's members then left the meeting hall and "tried to attack a number of deputies who went to them to contain the dispute”.

Lower House speaker's first deputy, Mahmoud Odwan, who was present at the meeting, said that the association's council members "were not seeking a solution but making problems”.

Odwan was quoted by local media outlets as confirming that teachers "came to the meeting already tensed and irritated", echoing his colleague Edajah's remarks that the association's members tried to attack MPs.

In remarks to The Jordan Times, the Teachers Association’s Spokesperson Ahmad Al Hajaya rejected MPs’ account of the incident as baseless, stressing that deputies were the ones who wore the aggressive attitude.

The association in a statement late Wednesday said that its representatives were verbally attacked by Khashashneh, who, it said, “was defending the Civil Service Bureau and the government”.

The syndicate said that its leaders walked out the meeting into another room, but Odwan followed them and physically assailed some council members before House staff intervened and contained the heated situation. 

Earlier this week, the association said it would organise a partial strike on Thursday and stage protests in front of the Prime Ministry next Monday to press for their demands from the government, namely- changing the employees’ performance evaluation system.

The teachers also demanded that the newly-implemented fingerprint system, which prevents educators from leaving before the end of the school day even if they finished their classes, be cancelled. 

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