Jordan denies reports Abdullah's caravan attacked

Security official says monarch's motorcade pelted with stones, bottles on visit to southern city; report comes amidst calls for reform.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
June 13, 2011 17:40
1 minute read.
Jordan's King Abdullah in Moscow, April 2011.

King Abdullah_311 reuters. (photo credit: Alexander Natruskin / Reuters)

Jordanian King Abdullah's motorcade was attacked by young men throwing stones and empty bottles during a visit to the southern city of Tafileh on Monday, AFP quoted a security official as saying.

"Part of the king's motorcade was attacked with stones and empty bottles by a group of men in their 20s and 30s a after the king's car entered Tafileh," the official stated. "Nobody was hurt and the motorcade changed its route," he added.

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Jordanian government spokesman Taher Edwan subsequently denied the report as "totally baseless," the Associated Press reported.

"There was no attack whatsoever with empty bottles and stones," he said. "What happened is that a group of young Jordanians thronged the monarch's motorcade to shake hands with him." He said when police "pushed them away, there was a lot of shoving."

Abdullah was in the city, 200 kilometers south of the capital Amman, on a fact-finding trip to inspect infrastructure projects and hear his subjects' demands.

The monarch has faced pressures for reform from Islamists, leftists and tribal figures, calling on him to relinquish his extensive powers, ranging from appointing cabinets to dissolving parliament; However, the kingdom has not seen the turmoil that has spread across the Arab world since January, leading to the overthrow of long-time regimes in Tunisia and Egypt as well as clashes in Syria, Yemen and Bahrain.

The alleged attacks came a day after King Abdullah said he backed a new electoral law proposed by a government-appointed panel that would allow for a cabinet to be elected by a parliamentary majority rather than being chosen by him.

"We hope these recommendations ensure a modern electoral law that leads to a parliament that is representative of all Jordanians," he said.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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