Jun 16 2012
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Rising prices, 'reform delays' ignite anti-government protests
In a so-called Friday of"bread, freedom and social justice," leftists and youth activists demonstrated in several governorates, protesting against last week's rise in fuel prices and a "disappointing" draft elections law.
In a series of protests stretching from Irbid to Aqaba, thousands of activists and independents demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Fayeaz Tarawneh for implementing austerity measures they claim are "starving citizens."
Meanwhile, hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters rallied in downtown Amman in protest of delay in democratic reforms.
"The only true way to save the country from an economic disaster is for real political reform giving the people decision-making power," said former Muslim Brotherhood Overall Leader Salem Fallahat.
"Until now, these last few governments and the regime has not shown any willingness to do so."
Participants in the rally also warned of a "popular uprising" over worsening economic conditions, chanting "our revolution has no limits."
Also in the capital, some two-dozen leftists and nationalists protested in front of the Parliament building, protesting the government's austerity measures and urging citizens not to "pay taxes to the corrupt."
Meanwhile, during a demonstration in the northern city of Irbid, which has witnessed a series of "day of anger" marches since a rise in electricity rates last week, lawmaker Jamil Nimri announced his resignation over a draft elections law detractors claim fails to break away from the heavily criticised one person, one vote system.
In an address to some 500 activists, Nimri criticised decision-makers for failing to implement "true political reforms", indicating that some 20 lawmakers will tender their resignation next week over the draft law.
Friday marked the third straight day of protests over rising fuel prices, which started with a dawn demo on Wednesday coinciding with the implementation of the new rates.
The fuel price hike came as the latest in a series of "drastic" measures officials claim is necessary to reduce a record JD2.9 billion deficit some experts warn threaten to tip the country into an economic crisis.
Earlier this month, the government raised electricity rates as high as 150 per cent in some sectors and increased the price of 95-Octane by 9 per cent, triggering a wave of popular protests.
© Jordan Times 2012
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