Protesters in Jordan’s Madaba clash with police over unemployment

Published June 23rd, 2016 - 09:00 GMT
Jordanian police seen on patrol in Amman. (File photo)
Jordanian police seen on patrol in Amman. (File photo)

Protesters clashed with Jordanian security forces Wednesday night in the Dhiban area of Madaba, following the arrest of a number of unemployed Jordanians conducting a sit-in in, Khaberni reported.

The protesters, saying the state had ignored "their requests for employment," clashed when confronted by police, resulting in at least five injured protesters and three injured officers. The clashes then spread to the neighboring village of Mileeh as well.

Witnesses reported that the security forces shut downn some of the roads leading to the village. Additional closures were caused by protesters burning tires on several roads. 

The clashes lasted through the night, with police using tear gas to disperse the protesters, resulting in a number of respiratory problems, according to local residents.

Reports indicated that the protesters burned down the house of the brother of Dhiban’s Police Chief, while pictures of the burned house were circulated by activists. Khaberni was not able to confirm these claims.

The protests come just days after Jordan's government introduced sweeping tax hikes on everything from gasoline to car transfer fees, alcohol, and cigarettes. The price of electricity is also expected to go up next year.

The austerity measures, taken in order to unlock grants and loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), have been seen as widely unpopular in a country with high unemployment, increasing cost of living, and additional pressures from hosting a large Syrian refugee population.

Last month, five unemployed men attempted to commit suicide by jumping off a building, hoping to draw attention to their plight.

In 2015, Jordan's GDP stood at 2.4 percent, the lowest in four years, according to the World Bank.

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