News / Middle East

Jordanians Protest Rising Fuel Prices

Protesters near Interior Ministry Square in Amman, Jordan shouted anti-government slogans on Wednesday. (Y. Weeks for VOA)
Protesters near Interior Ministry Square in Amman, Jordan shouted anti-government slogans on Wednesday. (Y. Weeks for VOA)
Cecily Hilleary
Jordanian teachers went on strike Wednesday, hours after the government increased fuel prices in a bid to qualify for much-needed international aid.  

Prime Minister Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour announced the decision to cancel fuel subsidies – and therefore raise prices to consumers -- during a Tuesday evening TV newscast.  At midnight, the price of gasoline was raised by as much as 14 percent and cooking gas by 50 percent. Within minutes of the announcement, protesters crowded the streets in Amman and cities across Jordan chanting slogans and calling for the government’s downfall.   

Amer Sabailah is an Amman-based political analyst who says the anger was hardly unexpected. Jordanians, who have been demonstrating quietly for months, are running out of patience.
 
“The government has been ignoring the many signals Jordanian people have been sending about their discomforts, about their problems, about their recent misery,” says Sabailah.
 
It isn’t just the fuel issue that incited the latest anger, says Sabailah, but the cumulative effect of years of bad policies that, he says, “have destroyed the country, destroyed the economy, destroyed the lives of the Jordanians.”  He cites high inflation, corruption and a government that repeatedly promises but fails to deliver reform. 
 
“We are, in Jordan, maintaining the state, because basically the state lives on the taxes we pay.  They have so many taxes; there are even taxes that have no name.”

  • Riot police ran towards protesters who tried to gather on Interior Ministry Circle in Amman on Wednesday after subsidies in Jordan were cut. (Y. Weeks for VOA)
  • Riot police ran towards protesters who tried to gather on Interior Ministry Circle in Amman on Wednesday after subsidies in Jordan were cut. (Y. Weeks for VOA)
  • Protesters held up signs on the edge of Interior Ministry Circle in Amman. (Y. Weeks for VOA)
  • Riot police pushed back protesters angry about subsidy cuts. (Y. Weeks for VOA)
  • Protesters gathered near Interior Ministry Circle. (Y. Weeks for VOA)
  • Protesters gathered near a gas station. Subsidy cuts have led to, among other things, a sharp increase in fuel prices. (Y. Weeks for VOA)
  • Jordanian police wait on an overpass above Interior Ministry Circle. (Y. Weeks for VOA)
  • Protesters near Interior Minsitry Square shouted anti-government slogans. (Y. Weeks for VOA)

 
Jordan’s economic woes

Jordan’s population of 6.5 million has an average per capita income of about $6,000, and the country’s national debt amounts to roughly 10 percent of its Gross Domestic Product.  Unemployment, officially cited at 12 to 14 percent could be as high as 30 percent.  With few resources, Jordan is forced to rely on U.S. and European aid.  But the government says that the cutting of subsidies is necessary in order for the country to secure a $2 million International Monetary Fund loan and help bridge Jordan’s $3.7 billion budget deficit. 

Compensation

Mahmoud Al-Zawawi is the former chief of the VOA’s Arabic Service and is now based in Amman, where police were forced to use water cannons to disperse the protesters. 
 
“What the government did was to announce its decision regarding the subsidies only four hours before they took place,” Zawawi said.  “Governments tend to operate under certain assumptions, that if you give people very short notice, they will not react.”
 
Zawawi said the announcement should not have come as much of a surprise to Jordanians - the government has been warning the public about the pending move for months. 
 
Additionally, Zawawi said that in making his televised announcement last night, Jordan’s prime minister explained that 70 percent of the Jordanian people will not be affected by the price increases because they will be paid compensation if the family income is less than around $1,100 a month.”
 
In fact, under the new policy, each individual of a household consisting of six members or less with qualifying income will receive just under $100 in compensation. 
 
Jordan’s King Abdullah has struggled in recent months against a growing opposition, particularly the highly organized Muslim Brotherhood, which is said to be meeting today to discuss developments.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous from: Jordan
November 15, 2012 3:14 PM
where is the coward "king"...? put to rule over us by UK...???

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs