Jordan police: protests against price hikes under control

Demonstrators try to urge drivers to stop their cars on the street during a protest in front of the Prime Minister's office in the capital Amman

Demonstrators try to urge drivers to stop their cars on the street during a protest in front of the Prime Minister's office in the capital Amman

A sea of protesters gathered outside of al-Mulki's office on Saturday night.

James Dorsey, a Middle East analyst, warned that the prime minister's departure may not be enough to satisfy protesters.

The BBC's Arab affairs editor Sebastian Usher says the king is urging a deal that won't overburden ordinary Jordanians while tackling endemic tax evasion.

On Thursday, the government announced it would raise fuel and electricity prices from Friday, sparking protests across the country.

However, public anger over IMF-driven government policies has grown since a steep general sales tax hike earlier this year and the abolition of bread subsidies, a staple item for the poor, and critics have said that the measures will hurt the poor and protesters have slammed politicians for squandering public funds and corruption.

Jordan's Prime Minister Hani Mulki has resigned after days of protests against tax rises and austerity measures.

"We are not a milk cow... the government should have many solutions to solve economic problems and should stop resorting to our pockets", Khawaldeh stated. Fuel prices were supposed to increase by 5.5% while electricity prices by 19%.

"This was not a wise move". Unemployment in Jordan has reached 18.4 per cent - rising to around 30 per cent among youth. It was not clear whether Mr. Razzaz would pursue the proposal to increase the tax rate on workers by at least five percentage points and on businesses by 20 to 40 percentage points.

On Friday, a demonstration took place in downtown Amman with participants calling for the immediate withdrawal of the law. The rioters were met by stiff police response to bring the situation under control.

"Even if they removed Mulki and replaced him with anyone else in the world and the policies don't change, that would mean we have achieved nothing", she said. Despite the protesters' rage, it seemed in most cases that security forces are showing restraint, and that protesters themselves are trying to avoid physical confrontations with them.

Mulki is to serve as caretaker until his replacement has been named, the state news agency Petra said.

Yom said: "At heart, the symbolic aspect is that this is an unelected government, stocked with technocratic elites, who are making rapid and costly changes to the overall political economy without real public consultation".

"We support civilised protests but not spreading chaos, burning tyres and blocking roads..."

Thousands of Jordanians protested against a planned tax increase for a fourth straight day Sunday, marching toward the office of the prime minister and demanding his resignation.

"We called on the government to withdraw this draft for the income tax law because it is imposed by the International Monetary Fund and we oppose any foreign law that is implemented in Jordan".

This article has been adapted from its original source.

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