Concerns rise after Jordanian police fire tear gas to disperse protesters

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Jordanians carry away an unconscious protester as a member of the gendarmerie stands by, during a demonstration outside the Prime Minister's office in the capital Amman late on June 2, 2018. (AFP)
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Jordanian riot police and security forces scuffle with protesters attempting to breach the area as they stand guard during a demonstration outside the Prime Minister’s office in the capital Amman late on June 2, 2018. (AFP)
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Jordanian protesters raise their hands in before members of the gendarmerie and security forces during a demonstration outside the Prime Minister’s office in the capital Amman late on June 2, 2018. (AFP)
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Jordanian protesters shout slogans before members of the gendarmerie and security forces during a demonstration outside the Prime Minister’s office in the capital Amman late on June 2, 2018. (AFP)
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Members of the Jordanian gendarmerie and security forces stand on alert as protesters shout slogans and raise a national flag during a demonstration outside the Prime Minister’s office in the capital Amman late on June 2, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 03 June 2018
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Concerns rise after Jordanian police fire tear gas to disperse protesters

  • Angry protests rock cities across Jordan overnight against IMF-backed austerity measures including a new income tax draft law and price hikes
  • Some 3,000 people faced down a heavy security presence to gather near the prime minister's office in Amman

JEDDAH: Thousands of Jordanian youth took to the streets for the third night in a row against tax rises and austerity measures — the biggest demonstrations since 2011.
In Amman, the Jordanian capital, police fired tear gas and blocked roads to stop protesters getting close to the prime minister’s office.
The protesters chanted angry slogans agains Prime Minister Hani Al-Mulki and called for his resignation. They say a new tax bill backed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will hurt the poor and middle class and will further deteriorate their living conditions..
King Abdullah, who arrived to the country last night after participating in an international gathering in Albania, has called for compromise from all sides and said citizens should not be the only ones to bear the tough economic burden Jordan has been facing for years.
The protests also took place in other Jordanian cities from the north to the south, where police had reportedly used tear gas. In the southern town of Maan, protesters burned tires on highways and scuffles broke out with police, Reuters reported.
Jordanians have seen prices rise with salaries failing to keep up.

On Friday, the government raised the prices of fuel derivatives, triggering angry protesters to rally in masses. But King Abdullah revoked the decision, but this failed to defuse the tension and the protests continued.
On Saturday, a meeting at the House of Parliament brought together all rivals including House members, Prime minister Al-Mulki and representatives of professional associations in an attempt to reach an understanding over the controversial tax law. The meeting ended with Al-Mulki determined not to withdraw the draft law, saying it was in the hands of members of parliament and it is up to them to decide its fate.
The government says it needs the money to fund public services and says the new tax bill will see higher earners pay more.
Earlier this year sales tax was increased and bread subsidies were scrapped as part of a plan to cut the country’s debt.
Al-Mulki said he hoped the reforms needed to get Jordan’s economy “back on track” would be complete by mid-2019.
Jordan has been hit by waves of refuges from neighboring countries. Millions of Palestinians, Syrians and Iraqis are living in the Kingdom and King Abdullah has said that conflict in neighboring Syria and Iraq has worsened Jordan’s financial situation.


Merkel pledges $100 million loan for troubled Jordanian economy

Updated 1 min 25 sec ago
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Merkel pledges $100 million loan for troubled Jordanian economy

AMMAN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday promised a $100 million loan to troubled Jordan, where mass protests over austerity measures forced the prime minister to resign earlier this month.
Merkel visited the kingdom amid an escalating domestic row over migration. Standing next to Jordan’s King Abdullah II, she made no reference to the crisis that’s straining her ruling coalition.
The chancellor said Germany will provide the $100 million loan in addition to bilateral aid which amounts to about 384 million euros ($442 million) this year. She said she hopes the additional funds will help Jordan carry out economic reforms sought by the International Monetary Fund.
The IMF is seeking such reforms to lower Jordan’s public debt-to-GDP ratio, which has risen to about 96 percent, in part because of the continued economic fallout from Syria’s civil war and other regional crises.
“We are aware of the challenges you face, both in the realm of security and in civil society development,” Merkel said, adding that she wished the government success in implementing “needed reforms.”
“The IMF, and it’s known for this, often has very ambitious ideas about reforms, and implementing them is anything but simple,” she said.
Merkel is meanwhile facing a serious crisis in her coalition.
Bavaria’s Christian Social Union party demands that some migrants should be turned back at Germany’s borders, and has given her two weeks to reach agreement with European partners. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, the CSU’s leader, is threatening to go ahead unilaterally with his plans if she doesn’t — potentially threatening the governing coalition.
Leaders from a group of European Union countries, led by Germany and France, will meet Sunday to thrash out possible solutions.