First Published: 2012-11-14


Jordanians demonstrate against fuel price hike


Trade and Industry Minister raises fuel prices, cooking gas by 53%, triggering nationwide protests.


Middle East Online

Some protests turned violent

AMMAN - Jordan announced on Tuesday it would raise fuel prices, including a 53 percent hike on cooking gas, sparking nationwide protests in which two policemen were lightly wounded and a courthouse torched, police and state television said.

"Trade and Industry Minister Hatem al-Halwani decided to adjust the price of fuel, raising the cost of household gas from 6.5 dinars to 10 dinars per cylinder," a 53 percent rise, state TV said.

"A litre of octane petrol (will rise) from 0.71 dinars to 0.80 dinars," it added.

The hike was to help reduce a massive government deficit, which Prime Minister Abdullah Nsur told the television is 3.5 billion dinars (around $5 billion) this year.

"The financial situation in the country has been greatly affected by the Arab Spring... The economic situation is very precarious," he said.

"The decision to re-examine fuel subsidies needed to be taken two years ago," Nsur added, saying the government would subsidise low-income families to help with the higher prices.

More than 2,000 people demonstrated in Amman against the price hike, chanting "Nsur out," and "long live the great people of Jordan," holding banners that read "revolution of the hungry," and "is this in our interest?"

In the northern city of Irbid, around 1,000 people protested, and police said two anti-riot policemen were shot and lightly wounded.

Several hundred people demonstrated elsewhere, including in Karak, where police said a courthouse was torched, and also in the other southern cities of Tafileh and Maan.

"This decision is a gamble that provokes the people and challenges them. It's the most dangerous decision in 10 years," Zaki Bani Rsheid, deputy leader of Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood, said.

"The people are already poor and crushed. If Jordan has elected governments that fight corruption, then we can raise prices."

Jordanians have been staging street protests to demand reform since last year, and more demonstrations are expected following the fuel price hike, which comes ahead of a January 23 general election, seen as key to introducing much-needed change.

The kingdom, which imports 95 percent of its energy needs, is struggling to find alternatives to unstable Egyptian gas supplies, which normally cover 80 percent of the kingdom's power production.

Since 2011, the pipeline supplying gas from Egypt to both Israel and Jordan has been attacked 14 times.

With desert covering 92 percent of its territory, Jordan is one of the world's 10 driest countries and wants to use atomic energy to fire desalination plants to overcome its dire water shortage.


Russia prepares retaliation against Turkey

Tunisia to rethink anti-IS strategy

Cameron pushes for Britain to join Syria air strikes

Erdogan denies buying oil from IS

Somali pirates seize Iran fishing boat with 15 crew

Lavrov says no war with Turkey after 'planned provocation'

Tunisia under state of emergency

Missing Iranian diplomat found dead in Saudi

Heavy Russia raids at site of Syria plane crash

Tunisia declares state of emergency after terrorist attack in heart of capital

Bahrain calls HRW torture report 'misleading'

Syria, Russia foreign ministers set Moscow talks

Rival Libya tribes sign peace deal to end months of fighting

Turkey reveals new cabinet of Erdogan allies

Turkey downs Russia Su-24 fighter jet on Syria border

Hopes fade away as Sudan peace talks break without deal

At least 6 dead in Libya bomb attack

ISIS suicide bombers kill four in assault on Sinai hotel

Kerry visits Israel with scant hopes for major breakthrough

Hollande heads to Washington to seek support for war on ISIS

Brussels extends terror alert as US issues worldwide travel warning

UAE blames Islamists for delay in military operation in Taez

Egypt kills 5 Sudanese migrants near border with Israel

Anti-Muslim hate crimes rise 300 percent in Britain

Russia eases restrictions on nuclear cooperation with Iran

Gulf leaders to hold annual summit on December 10

Ex-Gathafi Minister arrested over murder of UK policewoman

UK boosts military spending as pressure grows to join anti-ISIS strikes

Israel bars Palestinians from West Bank settlement bloc

Iraq suspends northern flights due to danger posed by Russia missiles

Syria army advances against ISIS in central province of Homs

Pro-Kurdish leader escapes assassination attempt in Turkey

Tunisia group claims beheading of young shepherd on behalf of ISIS

Kerry arrives in Abu Dhabi for Syria discussions

Three Palestinians killed as fresh violence hits West Bank

Iran arrests ISIS-linked cell near Iraq border

Brussels remains on high alert for second day in a row

Israel seeks to strip citizenship of those who join ISIS

France warns Libya as ISIS gains ground

Fear escalates as ISIS edges closer to Syria Christian town

Iran sentences reporter Jason Rezaian to prison

Egyptians vote in second phase of parliamentary elections

Assad grateful to Russia as army advances on ‘nearly every front’

Obama calls for resolve in face of terrorist threats

Russia bombs ISIS in heaviest strikes since beginning of Syria war