Thursday 29 January 2015

Teachers strike in Jordan protests

Published 14/11/2012 | 02:18

A Jordanian man holds up a piece of bread during protests over rising fuel prices, including a 53% hike on cooking gas (AP)

Jordanian teachers are striking in protest against fuel price hikes, a day after a government announcement prompted nationwide riots.

Anger is growing over the spike in fuel prices, including a 54% increase in cooking and heating gas in the kingdom.

Jordan's teaching union called for a general strike, although it only affected state schools and it was unclear how many teachers stayed at home.

The Muslim Brotherhood is holding emergency meetings to discuss its next move after the government lifted fuel subsidies to reduce a massive budget deficit and secure a 2 billion US dollar (£1.25 billion) loan from the International Monetary Fund.

Thousands protested on Tuesday in the capital Amman and elsewhere in the US-allied nation, with some demanding the resignation of prime minister Abdullah Ensour and criticising King Abdullah II.

"Revolution, revolution, it is a popular revolution," chanted about 2,000 protesters in an impromptu demonstration at a main Amman square, housing the interior ministry and other government departments.

The protesters - affiliated with Muslim, Arab nationalist, Marxist, Communist and youth opposition groups - also targeted Abdullah in a rare public display against the monarch. Criticising the king in public is forbidden in Jordan and is punishable by up to three years in jail.

Hours later, about two dozen protesters tried to take down a street portrait of the king hung on a billboard, but riot police encircled it, preventing the protesters from reaching it.

Cars jammed petrol stations to stock up on fuel before the price hike takes effect.

Mr Ensour said a type of fuel used in public transport will rise in price by 14%, while kerosene oil used for household heating goes up by 28%. Cooking gas will jump 54%, he said. Many low-income Jordanians use the gas for heating.

Press Association

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