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: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter 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.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid