(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Police on Tuesday arrested the seventh Tafileh activist in less than a week as hundreds demonstrated against an ongoing security sweep in the southern city.
According to Public Security Department (PSD) spokesman Lt. Col. Mohammad Khatib, the police yesterday arrested a political activist with a previous criminal record at a farm some 18 kilometres outside Tafileh.
The arrest came less than 24 hours after authorities detained two Free Tafileh Movement members for "inciting illegal acts" during their participation in an open-ended sit-in protesting against the ongoing security sweep in the southern city.
According to security sources, authorities transferred Qusayr Muheissen to the State Security Court on Monday where he faces charges of slandering the King, making him the fifth Tafileh activist to face such charges, which carry a sentence up to three years in prison.
The two men arrested Monday were wanted for their participation in an open-ended sit-in protesting against the arrest of four other activists last week, southern activists confirmed, stressing that their ongoing protests remain "peaceful and legal".
"Free Tafileh is a peaceful movement that calls for reform and none of our members have committed illegal acts," said Mohammed Qatatsheh, Free Tafileh Movement organiser.
Meanwhile, protests demanding the release of Majdi Qableen, Fadi Abadeen, Yasser Sabayla and Saed Ouran stretched into their seventh day yesterday, with hundreds of Islamists, leftists, independent activists and supporters taking to the streets in Amman and Tafileh.
Police arrested the four activists, who currently face charges of inciting violence and slandering the King, for their alleged connection to a protest over unemployment in the southern city last week that devolved into violence and led to the damage of public property.
The activists' supporters deny any connection between the Free Tafileh Movement and the riots, insisting that two of the detained men were not even in the governorate at the time of the incident and claiming that the four are being detained for their political views.
Arrests of activists in the southern city has led to a rise in tension between Tafileh residents and security services, with a police officer stabbed during a protest last Friday - an attack that the PSD blamed on Free Tafileh supporters.
Meanwhile, detained activists denied slandering the King or attempting to incite violence, accusing "outside forces" of attempting to depict pro-reformists as a "violent movement".
"From the beginning of our movement one year ago, we have only raised slogans against corrupt officials and we did not, do not and will not insult the King," Ouran told The Jordan Times from the Jweideh prison.
Ouran stressed that activists are determined to maintain Free Tafileh as a "peaceful and legal" movement, warning his peers and Tafileh residents against any acts that would lead to an escalation in tension.