By Randa Darwish
In the biggest demonstrations in years, thousands of Jordanians went to the streets in almost every city in the kingdom rejecting the 2018 Income Tax Law proposal along with latest price hikes on fuel derivatives and electricity and calling for King Abdullah II to dismiss Prime Minister Hani Mulki.
Last Wednesday, professional association leaders called people to take part in a strike planned by the Professional Associations Council in defence of people’s living conditions to press the government to withdraw the draft law and to make amendments to the civil service bylaw.
On Thursday, the government announced a new hike in prices of fuel derivatives and electricity unconcerned of the strike or people’s demands. However, the decision triggered large-scale protests during Thursday night leading King Abdullah to issue an order to freeze the price hikes on Friday.
Despite that, Jordanians went to streets to stress on their demands that included the income tax bill and the civil service by law on the Fourth Circle in Amman in front of the Prime Ministry.
Demonstrations continued for the whole weekend with numbers of protesters are on the rise. Meanwhile, activists and the Professional Associations Council called people to continue protesting until demands are met.
While most protests were peaceful, there were road closures, burning tyres and clashes with security officers in a few cases, as well as gun fire reports toward police stations outside Amman.
The protests gained momentum among Jordanians, especially as 2018 hasn’t been the perfect year for them, starting from what so-called “structural reforms of the tax system” that was imposed by the beginning of 2018, which aiming at achieving stability for economic growth.
While the protests did not receive enough coverage by local media in Jordan, social media platforms seemed to carry the weight of conveying what is happening on the ground.
On hashtags like: الدوار_الرابع “Fourth Circle”, اضراب_الاردن “Jordan’s Strike” and Jordan Strikes, thousands of Jordanians went to live stream the protests, capture images and document developments minute by minute.
Translation: "The thing I liked in Mafraq's protests that each night, they get a drum and it is carried by a really good drummer. It is really good thing and cheers people."
Others went to raise awareness among protesters by posting tips and directions to prevent people from clashing with police and reserve the protests’ main message, which is represented by being peaceful.
Hala Ahed, a lawyer & human rights defender wrote on her Twitter warning female protesters. “Reinforcements of women’s police to deal with female protesters and prevent them from reaching the Fourth Circle.”
Others went to post numbers of doctors for emergencies and urgent cases during the protests:
Translation: "Anyone feels injury or any sickness during the protest for any reason, he can call us on those numbers. A clinic in Marj Al Hamam contacted us and they are ready to provide free full treatment for any person during the protest."
Meanwhile, several positive initiatives were documented by videos and images of police officers cooperating with protestors.
Translation: Images show police officer while tying shemagh for the young protester against income tax bill on the Fourth Circle.
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