Jordan protests snowball over IMF-backed austerity

Some 3,000 people faced down a heavy security presence to gather near the prime minister's office in Amman until the early hours of Saturday morning, waving Jordanian flags and signs reading "we will not kneel".

Jordan protests snowball over IMF-backed austerity

World Bulletin / News Desk

Angry protests rocked cities across Jordan overnight against IMF-backed austerity measures including a new income tax draft law and price hikes, hours after the government and unions failed to reach an agreement to end the standoff.

Protests have gripped the country since Wednesday, when hundreds responding to a call by trade unions, flooded the streets of Amman and other cities to demand the fall of the government.

Last month, the government proposed an income tax draft law, yet to be approved by parliament, aimed at raising taxes on employees by at least 5 percent and on companies by between 20 and 40 percent.

The measures are the latest in a series of economic reforms since Amman secured a $723-million three-year credit line from the International Monetary Fund in 2016.

Since January, Jordan -- which suffers high unemployment and has few natural resources -- has seen repeated price rises including on staples such as bread, as well as extra taxes on basic goods.

The price of fuel has risen on five occasions since the beginning of the year, while electricity bills have shot up 55 percent since February.

The IMF-backed measures have sparked some of the biggest economic protests in five years.

Overnight, protesters outside premier Hani Mulki's office shouted slogans including "the ones raising prices want to burn the country" and "this Jordan is our Jordan, Mulki should leave".

Güncelleme Tarihi: 03 Haziran 2018, 13:47