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AL JAZEERA(Qatar),FRANCE 24-ARABE(France)

Worldcrunch

AMMAN - Led by Jordan's branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, thousands of protesters marched in the capital on Friday demanding democratic reforms from King Abdullah.

Following the Friday prayers, protestors who'd come from across the country descended on the Husseini mosque in downtown Amman, chanting: "Listen Abdullah, our demands are legitimate," Reuters expand=1] reported.

The "Friday to Rescue the Nation" rally was the largest single protest in Jordan since the Arab Spring popular movement began to spread across the region in 2011.

On the eve of the march, Abdullah had issued two royal decrees on Thursday that dissolved the Parliament and called for early elections, expected to take place by end of 2012, Al Jazeera reported. The new government is expected to be formed next week. Muslim Brotherhood leaders said the move does not meet their demands.

The constitutional and political reforms that the King has announced over the past year have not swayed the Islamic Action Front (the name of Jordan's wing of the Muslim Brotherhood). The group also announced that they would boycott the parliamentary elections.

In addition to reforms, The IAF claim that there should be more parliamentary representativeness, as most of the seats are held by pro-regime supporters. According to the Arab-language France 24 network, the political elite in Jordan are now worried that they may suffer the same fate as their counterparts in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, all governed by Islamic movements now.

The IAF is mostly constituted of Jordanian citizens of Palestinian origins.

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Coronavirus

Chinese Students' "Absurd" Protest Against COVID Lockdowns: Public Crawling

While street demonstrations have spread in China to protest the strict Zero-COVID regulations, some Chinese university students have taken up public acts of crawling to show what extended harsh lockdowns are doing to their mental state.

​Screenshot of a video showing Chinese students crawling on a soccer pitch

Screenshot of a video showing Chinese students crawling

Shuyue Chen

Since last Friday, the world has watched a wave of street protests have taken place across China as frustration against extended lockdowns reached a boiling point. But even before protesters took to the streets, Chinese university students had begun a public demonstration that challenges and shames the state's zero-COVID rules in a different way: public displays of crawling, as a kind of absurdist expression of their repressed anger under three years of strict pandemic control.

Xin’s heart was beating fast as her knees reached the ground. It was her first time joining the strange scene at the university sports field, so she put on her hat and face mask to cover her identity.

Kneeling down, with her forearms supporting her body from the ground, Xin started crawling with three other girls as a group, within a larger demonstration of other small groups. As they crawled on, she felt the sense of fear and embarrassment start to disappear. It was replaced by a liberating sense of joy, which had been absent in her life as a university student in lockdown for so long.

Yes, crawling in public has become a popular activity among Chinese university students recently. There have been posters and videos of "volunteer crawling" across universities in China. At first, it was for the sake of "fun." Xin, like many who participated, thought it was a "cult-like ritual" in the beginning, but she changed her mind. "You don't care about anything when crawling, not thinking about the reason why, what the consequences are. You just enjoy it."

The reality out there for Chinese university students has been grim. For Xin, her university started daily COVID-19 testing in November, and deliveries, including food, are banned. Apart from the school gate, all exits have been padlock sealed.

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