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S P E C I A L: The Standoff with Iraq

Jordan police attack pro-Iraq demonstrators

Flag graphic February 13, 1998
Web posted at: 7:38 a.m. EST (1238 GMT)

AMMAN, Jordan (CNN) -- Anti-riot police attacked several thousand people who staged a pro-Iraqi demonstration in central Amman on Friday despite a Jordanian government ban.

Several hundred baton-wielding policemen beat up the demonstrators who chanted slogans in support of Iraq and President Saddam Hussein in the streets around Amman's Grand Husseini Mosque after Friday prayers.

Police helicopters flew overhead as the police dispersed the demonstrators.

Jordanian police had turned down a request by King Hussein's political opponents for a demonstration in support of Iraq in its standoff with the United States over U.N. weapons inspections.

The government, worried about a repeat of the pro-Iraqi fervor during the 1990-91 Gulf crisis, on Tuesday banned public demonstrations of solidarity with Baghdad.

Reporter Rula Amin describes the ban on demonstrations and the actions of security forces
icon 253K/24 sec. AIFF or WAV sound

But organizers said on Thursday that they would go ahead with the planned demonstration.

Many Jordanians are outraged by U.S.-led threats to attack Iraq. They perceive Iraq as being unjustly targeted and feel that Israel is allowed to flout U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Reporter Rula Amin and Reuters contributed to this report.

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