Jordanians protest fuel price hike

Photo: Jordanians protest fuel price hike / Arabic region

Thousands of Jordanians protested late Saturday after Amman raised fuel prices for the second time in three months, dpa reported.

In a series of evening demonstrations led by the Muslim Brotherhood, Jordanians from Amman to the southern city of Maan rallied for the immediate resignation of Prime Minister Fayez Tarawneh for issuing a 10-per-cent fuel price increase.

The government said the price rise was necessary to help cover a record 4.2-billion-dollar budget deficit it blames on years of electricity and water subsidies.

Protestors targeted the Royal Palace, which they blamed for tolerating rampant corruption they say is the real reason for Jordan's economic crisis. "The Royal Palace is standing between the people and their rights," they chanted.

During the rallies, Islamists, leftists and independent activists called on Amman to roll back the decision, chanting: "Jordanian people, why are they draining us?"
At the Interior Ministry, protesters and the Muslim Brotherhood charged the price hike had been directed by the World Bank.

"True legitimacy lies with the people and not with foreign agendas ... America did not protect [ousted Tunisian president] Zain Abbeidne or [former Libyan strongman] Moamar Ghadaffi," warned Zaki Bani Rsheid, deputy head of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood.

Saturday's anti-government protests were the largest in three months in Jordan. Spurred on by the events of the Arab Spring in 2011, protesters in Jordan have for 18 months been calling for the transfer of royal power to the people to form governments.

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