Protests erupt across Jordan in response to government increasing sales taxes

Published February 25th, 2017 - 08:00 GMT
Jordanian women shout slogans as they protest in Amman on January 25, 2014. (AFP/File)
Jordanian women shout slogans as they protest in Amman on January 25, 2014. (AFP/File)

Protests erupted across Jordan on Friday against the government's decision to impose new taxes on a string of goods and services, with angry demonstrators calling for the cabinet to resign.

The government earlier this month imposed new sales taxes on internet and mobile use, bread, domestic fuel and petrol, cigarettes and fizzy drinks.

Around 1,500 Jordanians took to the streets of the capital Amman after weekly Muslim prayers at the Husseini Mosque in the city centre in a protest organised by the opposition Muslim Brotherhood.

The demonstrators marched from the mosque to the seat of the nearby municipality chanting slogans demanding the resignation of the government and venting anger at the price rises.

"The people of Jordan are on fire, all because of the rise in prices," some of the protesters chanted.

"The government that raises prices must fall, the government that impoverishes people must go," was another rallying cry, as demonstrators held up signs that read: "Raising prices is playing with fire."

Similar protests were also staged in the northwestern city of Salt, as well as in the regions of Karak and Madaba, south of the capital.

The price rises come as Jordan faces a public debt of about $35 billion and after Amman struck a deal with the International Monetary Fund to secure a $723 million three-year credit line.

The loan, the IMF said in August, is aimed at supporting Jordan's to push through with an economic and financial reform program.

Jordan's economy has been rattled from the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, and the country has taken hundreds of thousands of refugees from its neighbours over the years, stretching its meager resources.

Growth has slumped and unemployment has jumped to 14 percent of the kingdom's population of 9.5 million, with the young the worst hit, according to government figures, while unofficial estimates put it as high as 30 percent.

Copyright @ 2022 The New Arab.

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