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Jordan - Motorcade of King Abdullah Attacked

Published on: June 13, 2011 08:10 AM
By: AP
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In this Saturday, June 11, 2011 photo released by the Jordan Royal Palace Jordan's King Abdullah II, center, waves to people from his car during celebrations, in Amman, Jordan. In a speech marking his 12th year as Jordan's ruler, Jordan's king says future Cabinets will be formed according to an elected parliamentary majority. It is the first time that Abdullah II made such a concession publicly to his citizens. Jordanians have been demanding that the king loosens his absolute grip on power, which includes appointing prime ministers and Cabinets. (AP Photo/Jordan Royal Palace, Yousef Allan) In this Saturday, June 11, 2011 photo released by the Jordan Royal Palace Jordan’s King Abdullah II, center, waves to people from his car during celebrations, in Amman, Jordan. In a speech marking his 12th year as Jordan’s ruler, Jordan’s king says future Cabinets will be formed according to an elected parliamentary majority. It is the first time that Abdullah II made such a concession publicly to his citizens. Jordanians have been demanding that the king loosens his absolute grip on power, which includes appointing prime ministers and Cabinets. (AP Photo/Jordan Royal Palace, Yousef Allan)

Amman, Jordan - King Abdullah II was met by either tossed bottles and stones, or a warm welcome, on a visit to Jordan’s south on Monday, according to conflicting reports from government officials.

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A security official said a crowd of youths flung objects at the monarch’s motorcade in two incidents in the town of Tafila, 200 kilometers (125 miles) south of Amman, just a day after Abdullah bowed to popular demands for an elected prime minister. This official, insisting on anonymity because he is not authorized to discuss royal matters, said the king was unharmed.

Government spokesman Taher Edwan later denied the report.

“This news is totally baseless,” he said. “There was no attack whatsoever with empty bottles and stones. 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.”

A Royal Palace official who accompanied Abdullah gave a similar account: “It was a gesture of welcome, not an attack.”

Abdullah was on a fact-finding trip to inspect infrastructure projects and hear his subjects’ demands.

It wasn’t immediately possible to reconcile the two versions, and further details of any attack were not immediately available.

As violence has rocked other authoritarian countries across the Arab world, it has been rare in Jordan, where pro-democracy protests in recent months have generally been confined to relatively small demonstrations.

On Sunday, Abdullah announced he would accept elected Cabinets in the future, replacing a system under which the king appointed the prime minister and other ministers. He did not give a timetable, saying that sudden change could lead to “chaos and unrest” in Jordan.



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