Update 3: Jordan Explodes Over Fuel Price Hikes

Update 3 (November 14th) Yesterday was a dramatic day and potentially the start of a revolution. There were protests both in Amman and throughout Jordan. According to @Freedom_Jordan, water cannons were used to disperse the protesters in Amman, but protests will resume tomorrow, and there is a general strike scheduled to take place.

Approximately 7 to 10 people were arrested after security forces surrounded demonstrators at approximately 4am. Significantly, protesters for the mentioned King Abdullah by name in their chants. In an interesting incident on a historic day, riot police guarded a billboard with a picture of the King to prevent protesters from tearing it down.

In addition to the protests in Amman there were also significant protests around Jordan including in Aqaba, Irbid, Ajloun, Mafraq, Dhiban, Madaba, Karak (where a courthouse was torched), Tafileh, Shobak, and Ma’an, as well as Salt. In Salt, protesters attempted to reach Prime Minister Ensour’s home to demand that he resign but were stopped by riot police. Protesters were reported to have blocked roads in many areas,

This is a historic day and hopefully it will mark the beginning of the end of the closed and dysfunctional political system that has plagued Jordan since independence. The King was mentioned by protesters today because ultimately this decision was his to make. The people have come to recognize that the charade of changing the government over and over in response to demonstrations while in reality nothing changes. The people have shown today that they can see through those games.

Update 2 (November 13th) As we’ve predicted recently the people of Jordan have taken to the streets in protest of the price hikes on fuel implemented by the government, which were announced today.  Let’s hope that they do not give up this time. This could lead to a revolution.

Here are the details of the fuel price hikes announced today:

  • Cooking gas: Increased from JD6.5 ($9.18) per cylinder to JD10 ($14.11) per cylinder.
  • Diesel and kerosene: Increased from JD0.515 ($0.73) per liter to JD0.685 ($0.97) per liter, an increase of 33 percent. On a per-gallon basis this is an increase in the cost from $2.76/gallon to $3.67/gallon.
  • 90-Octane gasoline: Increased from JD0.70 ($0.99) per liter to JD0.80 ($1.13) per liter, an increase of 15 percent. On a per-gallon basis this is an increase in the cost from $3.75/gallon to $4.28/gallon.
  • The government says that affected Jordanians with incomes below JD10,000 annually will receive annual compensation of JD70 per person in households with fewer than six people.

The people have taken to the streets in response to the decision, which was made in the hopes of helping to secure a loan from the International Monetary Fund of $2 billion. The government, in short, decided to implement harsh austerity measures that hurt the least well-off in society (despite promises of compensation) right before an election is scheduled to take place which King Abdullah claims will result for the first time in the parliament choosing the Prime Minister.

The timing of this decision is very curious. The Prime Minister claimed it was inevitable, but the fact is that he has committed to staying only until the elections go forward on January 23rd, when parliament will choose his successor. So why now? Why not wait until after the election? I am suspicious that part of the real reason why this change was implemented now is to create an excuse for not allowing parliament to choose the next Prime Minister. Whatever happens the people of Jordan must hold those in power to account for their promises.

This is what people are saying via Twitter about the situation:

@Freedom_Jordan: some of us are safe, about 7-10 were arrested,protest has ended, coming back tomorrow #jo@Freedom_Jordan They are getting nearer and making a circle around us. Water-tank is driving towards us

@Freedom_Jordan: It’s 3 am here in #Jordan and people are still in the streets chanting for freedom. #Revoltjo #7erak #هبة_تشرين #الاردن_ينتفض #JO

@daoudkuttab: Radio @Balad924 just announced that the #Jo teacher’s association (dominated by Islamists) declared a general strike in protest of prices.

@NMSyria: Jordanians have had enough. || #JO #Jordanpic.twitter.com/c6spXLjV

@Lina18: Live streaming of protests in #Jordan now http://jordandays.tv/ , protesters chanting “the people want to topple the regime” #Jo

@YusufMunayyer: Freedom is from God, in spite of you Abdallah http://bit.ly/m5AEnR #jordan#chants

@LumaQ Protestors just sat down at interior ministry circle. Seems they will attempt to stay over night #Jordan #jo

@seldeeb: “@rightnowio_feed: heavy police presence in the Amman protesthttp://www.rightnow.io/breaking-news/amman-jo-reformjo_bn_1352838060665.html … #Amman #JO # #هبة_تشرين # via@Dana_Heartbeat” pictures

Check back for more updates.

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