Jordan: Arrests, Forced Dispersal at Teacher Protests
Jordanian authorities have exploited the country’s Covid-19 pandemic to forcibly disperse public protests against the arbitrary closure of the country’s Teachers Syndicate and mass arrests of its leadership, Human Rights Watch said today.
On July 25, 2020, the police raided the Teachers Syndicate headquarters in Amman and 11 of its branches across the country, shuttered them, and arrested all 13 syndicate board members on dubious legal grounds. The authorities have prevented or forcibly dispersed ongoing protests in towns across the country. They have arrested numerous teachers and other protesters, holding some in detention. On August 23, the authorities released the syndicate board members after holding them for a month, but other syndicate leaders and protesters remain in detention.
“The Jordanian government, despite promises to the contrary, is exploiting the state of emergency to crack down on public outrage over the arbitrary government closure of the Teachers’ Syndicate,” said Michael Page, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Jordan should not use the pandemic as a pretext to repress expressions of public concern over these arbitrary measures.”