News / Middle East

Thousands Protest for Reform in Jordan

Protesters from opposition parties and labor unions shout anti-government slogans in Amman, January 28, 2011
Protesters from opposition parties and labor unions shout anti-government slogans in Amman, January 28, 2011
Luis Ramirez

Thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets again in Jordan. They are protesting inflation, unemployment, and corruption, and demanding sweeping electoral reforms.

The new wave of demonstrations broke out after Friday Muslim prayers in Amman and several other cities across the kingdom.  Protesters chanted slogans, including some calling for corrupt officials to be put on trial.  

Friday's protests were the latest in a series of demonstrations that began two weeks ago in the wake of steep increases in food and fuel prices.

The demonstrations have put pressure on King Abdullah, as the demonstrators call for sweeping political reforms that would result in his relinquishing the power to appoint top government officials.

The protests have not directly targeted the monarch, but rather Samir Rifai, the man the king appointed as prime minister in 2009.

The protests are led largely by left-wing groups who call attention to the disparity between the rich and poor in Jordan. Hashem Abu Hassan is part of a coalition of labor groups and was among those organizing demonstrations in Amman on Friday.  

"We are coming to help the poor people, to help our people against this corruption and the bad policies, socio-economic policies of consecutive governments in Jordan in the past 10 years, all the policies. We need real change," he said.

Abu Hassan tells VOA he wants the government to bring down high taxes that he says are squeezing the poor. "What we want is that the income tax should be raised on the rich people and also to lower the value-added tax, especially on the daily materials and daily food and drink for the people. They take about 40 percent for the gasoline, 40-percent tax. This is unbelievable. They can't tolerate this situation," he said.

Jordan's Islamists have also joined the demonstrations, calling for a democratic reforms that will lead to what they describe as a gradual transformation of the country.

At some of the demonstrations on Friday, some protesters shouted slogans saying the Quran is their constitution and calling for a holy war.

The protests in Amman on Friday were peaceful and witnesses said security forces did not intervene.

The government has rolled out new subsidies to bring down the prices of basic goods and announced increases in retirement pensions and pay for public servants.

Many of the protesters said they are watching events in Egypt closely and have been inspired by the recent popular uprising in Tunisia. They say they will keep up the demonstrations in the coming days, including a sit-in outside the prime minister's office on Saturday.

NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid