People of Jordan fueled to protest: price hikes met with night chants for fall of regime
Arab Spring chants more reminiscent of Tahrir Square than Amman’s circles rang loud and clear in the streets of the Jordanian capital on Tuesday night.
“The people want to overthrow the regime”, the demonstrators chanted and named King Abdullah specifically as their target.
Just under 2000 protestors gathered around the Interior Circle in Amman, including women and children. It was a much louder and more aggressive demonstration of anger than ever before. Further proof that the relaxed Kingdom cannot fully escape the Spring momentum.
The problems began just before 10pm on Tuesday evening after rumors of a fuel price hike spread to the streets. The government had announced the planned increases five days ago but ordinary Jordanians hadn’t felt the full effects until Tuesday.
The changes in prices mean the Kingdom’s customers will pay over 50% more for their gas, essential for keeping the house warm in winter temperatures. The cash-strapped government faces a deficit of around $5 billion, according to state television, so has instigated the rises to cover their costs.
Protests, organized in Amman by ‘Jordan’s Youth Movement’, also echoed the fuming capital in cities across the Kingdom, including Ramtha, Irbid and Karak but there was no evidence of police retaliation despite the rowdy demonstrations. In total, there were 117 protests across the country and activists called for a general strike for Wednesday.
Unions were out in force in the capital and dotted about the nation's key protests, although those at the scene said the Muslim Brotherhood were the main opponents behind the demonstrations.
Jordan’s King is a keen proponent of reform rather than regime change and has stepped in after previous fuel price rises prompted mass protests. Many expected that the same thing would happen tomorrow after such a big response to the hike in prices.
Do you think this is the start of more serious protests? Or can the Jordanian government hang on? Tell us what you think below.