Jordan braces for more anti-austerity protests

In this file photo, Jordanian protesters scuffle with riot police during a demonstration against the government's decision to raise taxes in the capital Amman. (AFP)
Updated 13 December 2018
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Jordan braces for more anti-austerity protests

AMMAN: Jordanian authorities deployed hundreds of riot police in the capital and warned activists to stay within the law on Thursday ahead of another protest against the government's tough austerity measures backed by the International Monetary Fund.
Large demonstrations in the summer managed to bring down the previous government over an unpopular IMF-backed tax bill.
Protesters have held sporadic protests over the past two weeks and a judicial source said authorities had detained several people for chanting slogans critical of King Abdullah as well as the government.
"(For) anyone who breaches the law there will be punishment," government spokeswoman Jumana Ghunaimat told reporters on Thursday.
"There are those who want to sow destruction... We must safeguard Jordan's stability and security," she said, adding that the government wanted dialogue.
The latest protests eruped after a largely pliant parliament last month approved a tax bill widely seen as making few changes to the unpopular law scrapped after the summer demonstrations.
Many Jordanians say the government, which faces a record public debt of around $40 billion and desperately needs to raise revenue, is eroding the disposable incomes of poorer and middle class Jordanians while letting the wealthy off the hook.
The protesters complain that Prime Minister Omar Razzaz, appointed by King Abdullah after the summer protests, has not delivered on promises to jail corrupt officials and businessmen.
They also say he has sought public support for tough economic measures while failing to curb lavish public expenditure and improve public services, and that he should resign.
Jordan suffers from high unemployment, with regional conflicts weighing on business confidence. Poor economic growth has reduced tax revenues, forcing Jordan to borrow heavily abroad and also to resort to more domestic financing.


Yemeni government approves UN plan for redeployment in Hodeidah

Updated 20 February 2019
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Yemeni government approves UN plan for redeployment in Hodeidah

  • The withdrawal from Hodeidah will be carried out under the supervision of UN monitoring committee
  • The Houthi militia will withdraw by 5 km, while the Yemeni government will withdraw by 3.5 km south of the Red Sea Mills

DUBAI: The Yemeni government said on Wednesday that it approved a UN plan for redeployment in Hodeidah, Al Arabiya reported.

The withdrawal from Hodeidah will be carried out under the supervision of UN monitoring committee and will begin in the next 11 days.

The Houthi militia will withdraw by 5 km, while the Yemeni government will withdraw by 3.5 km south of the Red Sea Mills. This aims to secure the passage for relief workers to the Red Sea Mills.

The UN said it had been unable to access the Red Sea Mills - which has enough grain to feed 3.7 million people for a month - in Hodeida since Sept. last year.

Martin Griffiths and Michael Lollesgaard – who heads the monitoring mission – will oversee the implementation of the Stockholm agreement.

Lollesgaard assured the Yemeni government that the Houthis will withdraw 5 km away from Al-Saleef and Ras Eisa ports within the next four days.

Government officials are also expected to return to their official posts in Hodeidah after the Houthi withdrawal.