Protests in Jordan

Brian Whitaker writes:

The “Tunisia effect” continues. Several thousand protesters took to the streets of Jordan yesterday, for the second Friday in succession. More than 5,000 marched in the centre of Amman, with smaller demonstrations in several other cities, according to agency reports. The protesters are said to have ranged across the spectrum, from leftists and trade unionists to Islamists.

As in the earlier stages of the Tunisian uprising, the mobilising factor is economic hardship, though there are also calls for the prime minister and government to resign.

Yesterday’s Jordan Times reported that the government is to “reset” its spending priorities to address rising living costs, with pay rises for government employees and increased susbsidies on some goods. However, this can really be no more than a temporary palliative and the protesters seem to recognise that.

Trade unionist Maisarah Malas told AFP: “These measures are designed to drug people, nothing more. We need comprehensive reforms.”

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