Jordan Islamists, youths to protest fuel prices hikes

AFP , Thursday 15 Nov 2012

In spite of violent protests and riots over a huge increase in fuel prices the day before, Jordanian Islamists and youths are to continue protesting, beginning with later today near the Jordanian interior ministry

Anti-government protesters shout slogans during a demonstration following an announcement that Jordan would raise fuel prices, including a hike on cooking gas, in Amman (Photo: Reuters)

Jordanian Islamists and youth groups plan to hold to a demonstration in Amman on Thursday against a huge rise in fuel prices, a day after rioting and clashes left one dead and a dozen policemen wounded.

"We are meeting now to discuss steps to stage more demonstrations, including a protest today at 7:00 pm (1600 GMT) near the interior ministry on Gamal Abdel Nasser Circle," Zaki Bani Rsheid, deputy leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, told AFP.

Several youth groups said on their Facebook page that they plan to join the demonstration.

Around 500 Islamist-led demonstrators clashed on Wednesday with anti-riot police, hurling stones at them after the protesters were prevented from holding a sit-in near the circle.

They set tyres and garbage containers ablaze and tried to block the main road between there and nearby Firas Circle in Jabal Hussein neighbourhood, but police prevented them and fired tear gas.

Police chief Lieutenant General Hussein Majali said in a statement he will hold a news conference at around 1530 GMT.

Twelve policemen were injured early on Thursday when a group of "gunmen" attacked their station in the northern city of Irbid, state-run Petra news agency reported.

"One of the gunmen died in a shootout," Petra said, quoting police.

But the father of Qais Omari was quoted by local media as saying his son "was not carrying a weapon and did not attack police."

The incident came a day after rioting and clashes erupted in Amman and other cities and at least one other police station attacked.

The unrest erupted on Tuesday night after the price increases under which the cost of household gas will rise 53 percent and petrol by around 12 percent.

Prime Minister Abdullah Nsur has said the hikes were required to help reduce a government deficit of 3.5 billion dinars (around $5 billion dollars/3.9 billion euros) this year.

As "compensation," the government has said it will pay 420 dinars a year ($592) to families who earn less than 10,000 dinars ($14,000) annually.

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