Jordan has been hit by frequent, but small, anti-government protests over the past 23 months, but this week's demonstrations have shifted the focus from the government squarely to the king. So far, Abdullah has largely maintained control, partly by relinquishing some of his powers to parliament and amending several laws guaranteeing wider public freedoms.
But his opponents say the reforms are insufficient, and the violent protests Tuesday and Wednesday indicated many in Jordan are growing frustrated with the government's inability to address a host of trouble, mainly unemployment and poverty.
Jordanian government officials have accused the Muslim Brotherhood of inciting the unrest to score political points ahead of parliamentary elections in January. The fundamentalist group is boycotting the polls over disagreement with the government on an election law that it says favors pro-king loyalists.
Brotherhood spokesman Jamil Abu-Bakr, however, said his group "isn't against the king."
"Our followers in the protests did not call on his downfall," he said. "But we want him to seriously introduce real reforms to ease the popular agitation that may lead to an explosion in the street."
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