By JAMAL HALABY Jamal Halaby
Sun Nov 21, 2010
AMMAN, Jordan – Calm was restored to the northwestern Jordanian town of Salt on Sunday after four days of rioting sparked by the shooting of an alleged traffic violator, police said.
Suleiman Khreisat remains in critical condition after he sustained a gunshot wound to the head after he drove through a police road block on Wednesday, said police spokesman Lt. Col. Mohammed al-Khatib.
He said a police major shot the man while chasing after the vehicle. The officer has been detained and is being investigated for "using excessive force with a civilian."
Al-Khatib said the victim refused to stop at the road block.
"His vehicle had no license plates and broken front and back windows, which made it look suspicious," he said, adding that riots then erupted in the town.
"Salt residents wanted to know who shot their townsman, demanding that police identify him so that they could take revenge," al-Khatib added.
Dozens of residents hurled stones at police, smashed police kiosks, street lights, a building that belongs to traffic police, as well as shop windows and cars, including police vehicles. They also burned trees in at least two main city squares, ATM machines and tires to block roads.
"Several police officers and citizens were also wounded and have been hospitalized," al-Khatib said.
He said police used tear gas to restore order.
Al-Khatib said 34 rioters were also arrested and will face trial.
Salt, 17 miles (27 kilometers) from the capital Amman, is inhabited mainly by bedouin tribesmen, who form the bedrock of support for Jordan's King Abdullah II. Many work in the country's security services.
The town has also produced several Arab fighters recruited by Muslim militants to battle U.S. troops in neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan.