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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs