Jordan's first all-women protest calls for prisoner release
Hundreds of women rallied in southern Jordan on Saturday to demand the release of political prisoners in what marked the Kingdom's first all-female demonstration since the launch of its year-old protest movement, dpa reported.
Some 200 women marched in the town of Tafileh, around 179 kilometres south of Amman, to call for political reform and the release of six local pro-democracy activists who face three-year prison terms for allegedly slandering the King.
Activists said the rally was a bid by women to play a greater role in Jordan's pro-reform movement which, despite giving rise to over 1,300 demonstrations since January 2011, has largely been dominated by men.
"Women have been left out of the protest movement because Jordan is a traditional society, but just as people want to reform the regime, we want to reform women's role in political life," said Um Amar Qableen, Tafileh resident and mother of one of the jailed activists.
Female pro-democracy advocates say they believe they can be a potent force in Jordan's protest movement, which calls for an end to corruption and the transfer of the King's constitutional authority to form governments to the people.
"If security forces are willing to arrest and beat their brothers for demanding democracy and basic freedoms, they will have to be willing to arrest and beat their mothers, sisters, and daughters too," Um Amar added.
According to Jordanian women activists, Saturday's march is to be the first of a series of weekly all-female protests, pledging to continue their activities until authorities implement "true democratic reform."
Tafileh activists say they are reaching out to women across the country to host similar all-female pro-democracy protests as part of a wider "political awakening" of Jordanian women.