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Journalists to protest in solidarity with French news agency in Jordan

From Jomana Karadsheh, CNN
Men armed with sticks broke into the AFP officein Amman on Wednesday, shattering windows and destroying furniture.
Men armed with sticks broke into the AFP officein Amman on Wednesday, shattering windows and destroying furniture.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • They will show their solidarity following an attack on the AFP bureau a day earlier
  • The attackers break windows and overturn furniture
  • AFP says the bureau was targeted over a report of attacks on the king's convoy
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(CNN) -- Journalists will protest in solidarity outside the offices of a French news agency in the Jordanian capital on Thursday following an attack on its bureau a day earlier.

Attackers targeted the offices of the Agence France Presse in Amman on Wednesday, leaving windows shattered and furniture overturned.

A filing cabinet was smashed with documents strewn around the office, and phones yanked out and hurled to the ground.

"Ten men armed with sticks broke into the office and started to destroy everything in their way, the furniture and the equipment," said AFP journalist Kamal Taha, who was alone when the attack occurred.

Taha escaped and a neighbor called authorities, the news agency said, and the attackers fled when they heard sirens.

AFP said the attack followed a phone threat to the agency's bureau chief Randa Habib accusing the bureau chief of undermining the kingdom's security.

Government loyalists protested outside its offices on Tuesday, calling for closure of its bureau and legal action against Habib.

The protests and attack follow a report by AFP and other news agencies Monday that a convoy carrying the Jordanian monarch was attacked. On Tuesday -- a day after the report -- protests ensued outside the AFP bureau.

On Wednesday, the bureau was attacked.

Other media reported about clashes during King Abdullah's visit to southern Jordan on Monday, including CNN, though the latter did not specifically say his convoy was attacked.

CNN reported that clashes broke out between citizens and anti-riot police during the king's visit. At the time, a Jordanian government spokesman denied media reports that the king's motorcade came under attack.

"A group of citizens attempted to greet the king and started shoving security personnel who responded back. This is something you would find at any event," spokesman Taher Odwan said Monday.

Habib has come under fire for her report in February that cited a letter signed by Jordanians she described as tribal leaders highly critical of the queen.

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