x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Muslim Brotherhood calls for Jordan's PM Marouf Bakhit to quit

Brotherhood¿s response comes after Bakhit accused the group of 'receiving instructions from Islamist leaders in Syria and Egypt' and violence sees one death and nearly 130 injuries.

AMMAN // Jordan's Islamic-led opposition yesterday called for the departure of Marouf Bakhit, the prime minister, whom they blamed for the violence that led to one death and nearly 130 injuries in violence on Friday.

Jamil Abu Baker, the Muslim Brotherhood's spokesman, said: "We blame the government and the police entirely of what happened. We demand that they be held accountable for this unjustified massacre."

The Brotherhood's response came a day after Mr Bakhit accused the group of "receiving instructions from Islamist leaders in Syria and Egypt."

"Stop playing with fire," Mr Bakhit said in an interview broadcast on Jordan Television's Sixty Minutes programme on Friday night. "Where are you taking Jordan to?" he asked them.

Mr Bakhit urged Brotherhood members "to get back to their senses" and join a committee for national dialogue on reform, created this month, that the group boycotted.

"If you wish to return to the dialogue we welcome you, if you do not want we hold you responsible for your approach that will lead to discord in Jordan."

The 53-member committee has had 16 members resign to protest against the assaults on protesters that they said were carried out in complicity with security forces. They are also not convinced there will be a genuine national dialogue on reform.

The March 24 movement, a group of about 2,000 leftists, Islamists and independents demanding constitutional reforms, set up the first protest camp in the city centre on Thursday. On Friday, 300 supporters of the monarchy began throwing large stones at the demonstrators, and police quickly moved in to break up the camp. One man died and about 130 people were injured, including three who suffered critical injuries.

Protest leaders said a 55-year-old man died as a result of a police beating, but police insisted the man was not a protester and that he died in hospital of a heart attack.

Abdul Rahman Hassanain, 30, an activist in the youth movement, said the family of the deceased man had a forensics report that indicated he had been beaten around the head.

"His family refused to receive his body until the government admits that it was responsible for his death," Mr Hassanain said. "We will continue with our action to demand reform, whether it's through protests, Facebook or the media."

smaayeh@thenational.ae