Jordanians Protest Against King Amid Rising Gas Prices
Protests erupted across Jordan after the government announced its decision to remove fuel subsidies, causing gas prices to rise by 54 percent. Approximately 2,000 demonstrators “burned tires, smashed traffic lights and blocked roads” while burning photos of the king and shouting anti-government slogans. Murad Adailah of the Islamic Action Front stated, “This is the highest peak of tension that I’ve seen since the beginning of the Arab Spring,” while Zaki Bani Irsheid, vice chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood, insisted the movement includes secularists and is focused on creating a “Jordanian spring” with aims of “reforming [the] regime and keeping [it] peaceful.” The U.S. Embassy in Jordan issued an official emergency message warning U.S. citizens to defer any non-essential travel and avoid spontaneous or planned demonstrations as they could escalate into violence. The Embassy confirmed protesters had “blocked major highways” and that “security services have used non-lethal measures to disperse crowds.”
The price increases were intended to “reduce a massive budget deficit and secure a $2 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund,” as the government is believed to be on the brink of economic disaster. Fadi Ghandour, CEO of Aramex, addressed the protesters on Twitter stating, “political parties that are protesting and demonstrating today have to propose solutions to #Jordan’s economic problems, not only protest.” Pete Moore of the Middle East Research and Information Project wrote an op-ed critiquing theories of what causes uprisings in the Middle East and how they should apply to Jordan but have not. Though he suggests Jordan may have been experiencing a slow revolution all along, U.S. influence and a number of missing intangible factors which were present in other countries have prevented radical upheaval.