Jordanian protesters crank up the pressure on government to resign
Published 22/01/2011 | 08:13
Thousands of Jordanians took to the streets yesterday calling for their government to stand down.
Protesters are angry at economic hardship and a lack of democratic reforms in the constitutional monarchy.
Spurred on by the popular uprising in Tunisia, Jordanian protests have grown in the past week.
The opposition movements have vowed to maintain the pressure until prime minister Samir Rifai and his government resign.
Wary of the outcry, particularly over rising prices, Jordan's |government has taken some steps to try to defuse the situation, including announcing $125m (£80m) in subsidies on basic goods and fuel. The prime minister also announced a pay increase for civil servants, but protesters scoffed at the measures.
The organisers of what was dubbed a ‘Day of Rage’ represented a broad swathe of Jordan's opposition, including the powerful Muslim Brotherhood.
The groups are calling for reforms to allow Jordanians to elect their government rather than having it appointed by King Abdullah II. Abdullah ascended to the throne in 1999, vowing to bring about democracy, but his reforms have been slow as Jordan tries to limit Islamist influence.