Jordan arrests 12 activists for insulting king

March 31, 2012 - 1:36 PM

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Jordanian security forces arrested 12 activists for insulting the country's King Abdullah II in a rally in the capital on Saturday, a police official said.

He said the 12 — 11 men and one woman — were also being questioned for disturbing public order by blocking traffic in a key area of Amman near the prime minister's office and foreign diplomatic missions.

The 12 were among 100 protesters demanding the release of two dozen other activists charged with inciting violent riots in the south of the country earlier this month.

In the last 15 months, Jordanians have taken to the streets demanding more say in the country's government. But their protests have been much smaller and largely peaceful, unlike in Egypt, Tunisia and other Arab countries where four leaders have been deposed.

A police statement said the government condones peaceful protests, but will "deal firmly" with violators of the law.

The official insisted on anonymity because he is not allowed to comment on an ongoing investigation.