Words & Video: Naseem Tarawnah
In one of many protests that were held yesterday almost moments after of victims in Gaza began airing on television, hundreds of young protesters took to the streets of Amman's Shmisani district, originating from Professional Associations Complex. It was almost by mere coincidence that I came upon the march, as the crowds piling up in the streets brought traffic to the already-congested Shmisani area to a full stop. I noticed riot police unloading by the dozens and in the distance, large Palestinian flags were bring waved in the cold December air. Fortunately, I managed to catch up with the protest on the fourth circle as they marched to the gates of the Prime Minister's office. Police had quarantined the area, and stood frozen, almost equaling the protesters in numbers. Upon arriving I heard that the police did attack several women when the protest began in Shmisani, but eventually the unmoving crowd got too large to hinder. I heard similar beatings were taking place in the Wihdat area, a district with predominantly large Palestinian population, ruled politically by the Muslim Brotherhood. To be honest, I don't know how accurate such reports were, but some came from witnesses I ran in to.
With Israel's onslaught killing over 225 Palestinians in a matter of hours, it is no surprise to see such protests in Jordan and on the spur of the moment. No license, no permission and not much organization. Usually just a destination and an angry heart. At times they are unified and other times bored factions of the crowd break off to start their own chants and wave their own flags. Police did seem helpful in shutting down a few streets temporarily in order to direct the crowds toward the Prime Minister's office. The demands they shouted were many, including the closure of the Israeli embassy, the end of the peace treaty with Israel and the opening of the Egyptian-Gaza border.
There was a great deal of anger amongst the predominantly young crowd, where girls almost numbered their male counterparts, and at times, were just as vocal. The march seemed to bring together a wide spectrum of Jordanians, be they of Palestinian origin or not, not to mention association members, a few Islamists as well as socialists and leftists. I expect such numbers to grow straight in to the new year of Israeli attacks continue.
Before Al-Jazeera even arrived on the scene, dozens in the crowd were already filming the event on their mobile phones. Here is one such capture I managed to get: