Jordan office of French news agency attacked

June 15, 2011 1:26:11 PM PDT
Assailants swinging clubs stormed into the Jordan office of the French news agency Wednesday, destroying furniture, in a rare attack on the international media in the kingdom. The sundown assault on Agence France Presse came a day after 300 Jordanian protesters demanded the bureau's closure for what they said was its "inaccurate reporting" on King Abdullah II's visit to Tafila, a southern Jordanian town, this week.

AFP reporter Kamal Taha said 10 men smashed the glass entrance door, stormed into the office on the ground floor of a building in an Amman residential neighborhood and destroyed some furniture. No one was hurt.

"They smashed phones and furniture in the reception area and wanted to go into the office, but they couldn't because I locked the door," said Taha, who was on duty. He said they fled before police arrived at the scene.

Information Minister Taher Edwan said the act was "disgraceful." He said police was investigating, promising that the "perpetrators will be brought to justice."

Like other international media, Agence France Presse reported initial security accounts Monday that Tafila youth pelted 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 Abdullah.

Tuesday's protesters outside AFP's office 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.

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