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Amman Quells Protests Amid Rising Pandemic Deaths

Jordanian authorities on Monday clamped down on the growing protests sweeping the kingdom, firing tear gas canisters into crowds of hundreds in the capital Amman and a handful of other major cities. Thousands of police officers were deployed to keep the peace, arresting dozens of demonstrators, while several of the country’s popular social media platforms were blocked for hours by the government. The violent clashes in recent days are a result of a renewed curfew ordered by Amman, aimed at stemming the latest outbreak of the coronavirus. Protesters claim the extreme measures violate civil rights and fear a worsening economic squeeze on businesses. Saturday’s tragic incident in a hospital outside the capital, in which a temporary oxygen outage killed nine patients, has only made matters worse. The apparent negligence by hospital staff led to the firing of the kingdom’s health minister. Nearly 10,000 new virus infections were diagnosed in the past 24 hours in Jordan, the highest single-day figure since the pandemic began. The country of 10 million people has recorded close to 5,500 deaths so far.