Jordan protesters face charges over anti-monarch chants
By Suleiman Al-Khalidi
AMMAN (Reuters) - Security agents in Jordan were interrogating 130 demonstrators who could face charges for calling for the downfall of U.S. ally King Abdullah in protests triggered by a sharp rise in fuel prices.
Judicial officials told Reuters on Sunday the young men, many of them in their teens, had been detained for 15 days and could be charged with threatening the state.
The men were among dozens arrested during protests that began on Wednesday in impoverished towns across the kingdom and in many places turned violent.
"These are prisoners of conscience who should be released," said Musa Abdallat, a prominent human rights lawyer.
Unemployed youths attacked police stations, closed roads with burnt cars and torched government buildings. One protester was killed. A large protest on Friday in the capital Amman passed off largely in peace.
The opposition is keeping pressure on the government to reverse fuel price hikes, but Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour said on Sunday the government would not change course.
Some of the men in detention were among thousands who chanted the Arab Spring slogan "the people want the downfall of the regime" near the Husseini Mosque in downtown Amman.
Jordan has so far largely avoided the unrest that has swept across the Middle East over the past two years, but the decision to lift fuel subsidies sent thousands on to the streets. Continued...