Street protests erupted in the Jordanian capital ‘Amman on 14 November and a number of provincial towns following the government’s decision to hike the prices of gasoline, diesel, kerosene and LPG (cooking gas) with effect from that day. Other petroleum product prices were raised on 1 November (see table). Denouncing the increases young men chanted “freedom, freedom, down with [King] ‘Abd Allah,” and one protester attacking a police station was shot dead on 15 November. The government which came to power last month had warned on several occasions that the fuel subsidies were not sustainable any more and the budget deficit had reached a critical level.

The decision to liberalize petroleum product prices and withdraw subsidies was met with angry protests, with some opposition political groups calling for a rescinding of the measures taken by the government to avoid further escalation in the situation and possible political turmoil. Instead they said a dialogue was needed to draw up a “comprehensive reform strategy.” (CONTINUED - 600 WORDS)