Protesters demand "fall of the regime" in Jordan
Published Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Overnight demonstrations over fuel price hikes in Jordan may have spiraled into a nation-wide revolt against the country's regime Wednesday, according to various activist sources.
Rioting broke out in several cities and various key routes were reported to have been blocked by protesters, after Jordanian prime minister Abdullah Nsur announced a 53 percent increase in household cost of gas and a 12 percent rise in petrol prices. The government had cut fuel subsidies in a move to secure a $US two-billion IMF loan.
Security forces used tear gas and water jets, and forceful disbanding in some areas, to disperse protesters.
In some of the demonstrations, people were heard chanting: "the people demand the fall of the regime." The chant is a rhetorical hallmark of the so-called Arab Spring, which was widely seen to have sidestepped Jordan.
Several protesters also chastised the country's monarch King Abdullah II, saying "Freedom is from God, in spite of you, Abdullah." Criticisms of the king are strictly prohibited in Jordan and are punishable by up to three years in prison.
Demonstrators dubbed the protests "Habbit Tishreen" or the November Gust after Jordan's February 1989 uprising which was also sparked by a rise in commodity prices and led to the first parliamentary elections since the Arab-Israeli war of 1967.
— Anonymous Jordan (@Freedom_Jordan) November 14, 2012
Demands for the fall of Jordan's regime, headed by pro-Western monarch King Abdullah II, mark a decisive shift from previous demonstrations in-state, when demands were predominantly for government reform. It saw the appearance of the #RevoltJO(rdan) twitter hashtag in activist tweets; however, the monarchy-friendly #ReformJO hashtag continued to be more visibly used among activists.
— Turk4Syria (@Turk4Syria) November 14, 2012
Officials said around half the country's 120,000 public school teachers went on strike Wednesday after a call by their union, from at least 2,000 schools countrywide.
"The strike will continue until the government goes back on its unjust and irresponsible decision that seeks to make Jordanians poorer," the teachers' union said in a statement.
Lawyers have also held a strike in Amman and other trade unions said they are considering similar action. Youth groups and some political parties held demonstrations in the capital and other cities.
Abdullah has fired more than four prime ministers in the last two years in what was seen as pre-emptive action against an Arab Spring in the country.
Several protests led by Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood have been held to call for change in the country, and have drawn support from Arab nationalists, Marxist, and youth opposition groups.
The Brotherhood has said it would boycott early parliamentary elections that Abdullah called for in October.
— Fadi Al-Qadi (@fqadi) November 14, 2012