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

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.


Israeli attorney general to decide on Netanyahu charges

Updated 51 min 3 sec ago

Israeli attorney general to decide on Netanyahu charges

JERUSALEM: Israel’s attorney general scheduled a Thursday night news conference to announce his long-awaited decision on whether to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a series of corruption scandals.
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s ruling promises to upend the Israeli political world after two inconclusive elections.
If, as widely expected, he presses charges against the prime minister, it would deal a heavy blow to Netanyahu’s hopes to remaining in office. If Netanyahu is cleared, it would give him a major boost as the country braces for the possibility of its third election in under a year.
The allegations against Netanyahu include suspicions that he accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars of champagne and cigars from billionaire friends, offered to trade favors with a newspaper publisher and used his influence to help a wealthy telecom magnate in exchange for favorable coverage on a popular news site.  
Netanyahu has called the allegations part of a witch hunt, lashing out against the media, police, prosecutors and the justice system.
Netanyahu scheduled a press conference at 6:30 p.m. GMT, an hour after Mandelblit’s expected announcement.