Attackers Raid French News Agency’s Jordan Office

Posted June 15th, 2011 at 5:05 pm (UTC-5)
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Assailants armed with clubs stormed into the Jordan office of the French news agency late Wednesday, destroying furniture and equipment in a rare attack on the international media in the kingdom.

Agence France Presse reporter Kamal Taha, who was on duty at the time, said 10 men broke into AFP's reception area, but that he managed to lock the main office and escape unhurt through a back door.

He said the men fled before police arrived at the scene.

The assault came a day after 300 Jordanians protested outside AFP's office in the capital, Amman, demanding the bureau's closure for what they described as its “inaccurate reporting” on King Abdullah II's visit to the southern Jordanian town of Tafila.

Like other international media, AFP reported initial accounts Monday that young people in Tafila pelted King Abdullah's motorcade with stones. But officials and Tafila residents quickly clarified that the stones targeted police for their rough handling of citizens during the king's visit, not King Abdullah.

Tuesday's protesters accused the agency of distorting the hospitality of Bedouin tribesmen – who are traditional supporters of the monarch – to falsely portray popular disenchantment with the king.