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Fuel Price Hikes Spark Mass Protests in Jordan

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Thousands of protestors took to the streets of Jordanian cities on Thursday night shortly after the premier announced price hikes for gas and other fuel, local media reported.

BEIRUT, November 14 (RIA Novosti) – Thousands of protestors took to the streets of Jordanian cities on Thursday night shortly after the premier announced price hikes for gas and other fuel, local media reported.

Thousands of protestors, chanting calls for “people’s revolution” and demanding Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour to resign, blocked traffic at a major road junction in the center of the capital Amman.

In Irbid, the country’s second largest city in terms of metropolitan population, protestors set a government building on fire, Lebanon’s Libancall news agency said. Police said two officers were slightly injured during the unrest.

Protests were also reported in the central city of Karak, as well as in the southern cities of Tafileh and Maan.

Ensour said on Tuesday that the government announced it would scrap fuel subsidies starting from midnight in an attempt to trim the country’s growing budget deficit and secure a $2-billion IMF loan.

The country’s budget deficit is forecasted to balloon to a record high of 3.5 billion dinars (around $5 billion), or 15 percent of the country’s 2012 GDP, according to IMF estimates. Previously, Jordan had spent $2.3 billion, or about a quarter of its annual budget, each year on subsidies.

Jordan imports 95 percent of its energy needs. The cancellation of subsidies will lead to price hikes for all types of fuel, including a 14 percent increase in gasoline prices, 28 per cent in prices for kerosene oil used for household heating and 53 percent price increase for household gas.

 

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