Protests across Jordan over rising prices

Published November 14th, 2012 - 07:18 GMT
Protest in Jordan
Protest in Jordan

Riots reported in Jordan last night after the authorities announced price hikes of fuel and gas. The announcement on state television, comes as the country faces a budget deficit of about US$ 5 billion.

"The Minister of Industry and Trade Hatem Halouani decided to adjust fuel prices, increasing the cost of domestic gas from 6.5 dinars to 10 dinars ($14) per bottle," an increase of 53% , said the television.

Prime Minister Abdullah Nsour said that "the total budget deficit for 2012 was 3.5 billion dinars" (about $5 billion), adding that the country's financial situation was "greatly affected by the Arab Spring."

"The economic situation is very precarious," he stated.

"The decision to review fuel subsidies should have been made two years ago," said Nsour, noting that the government would provide assistance to low-income families to help them manage rising prices.

Shortly after the announcement, some 200 people demonstrated in Amman against, shouting "Nsour out," and waving placards that read "revolution of the hungry".

Jordan imports 95% of its energy needs. It needs to find alternatives to Egyptian gas - which usually covers 80% of its needs for electricity generation, but the supply has been interrupted several times since 2011 because of attacks against the pipeline connecting Egypt with Jordan and Israel .

The kingdom has been facing since January 2011 small but regular demonstrations, in the wake of the Arab Spring, calling for political and economic reforms.

On October 5, thousands of people demonstrated in Amman urging the Islamist opposition to demand reforms, despite the announcement by King Abdullah II of the dissolution of Parliament and the calling of early elections scheduled for January 23.

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