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3,000 Jordanians protest govt economic policies

Jordanians continue protests for the second day against economic policies

AFP, Sunday 16 Jan 2011
Protestors from opposition parties and labour unions shout anti-government slogans outside the parliament in Amman (Photo: Reuters)

More than 3,000 Jordanian trade unionists, Islamists and leftists held a sit-in on Sunday outside parliament to protest the government's economic policies.

"For how long should we pay the price of corruption and theft," read one of the banners carried by protesters who also held Jordanian and Islamist flags.

The demonstrators chanted "enough of lies, we lost our future," and called on Prime Minister Samir Rifai to "listen to the voice of the people."

"Jordan's blood has been sucked," they chanted.

"Poverty, starvation and unemployment, we've had enough," and "Jordanians are on fire... the soaring prices are killing us," were among the other slogans they chanted.

Parliament was in session during the sit-in, which comes after a popular revolt in Tunisia ousted its strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

On Saturday, about 50 Jordanian trade unionists held a sit-in outside the Tunisian embassy in Amman, shouting "Tunisia's revolution will spread."

Thousands of Jordanians took to the streets of the kingdom on Friday to protest soaring prices and unemployment, despite a 169-million-dollar plan to improve their living condition.

But critics say the measures are not enough, complaining of rising unemployment and poverty as inflation last month hit 6.1 percent.

Unemployment is around 14 percent in the country of six million people, 70 percent of them under 30, but other estimates put the figure at 30 percent, while the minimum wage is 211 dollars a month.

Poverty levels are running at 25 percent in the desert kingdom, whose capital Amman is the most expensive city in the Arab world, according to several independent studies.

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