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Calm returns to streets after fuel price riots

By Taylor Luck - Nov 15,2012 - Last updated at Nov 15,2012

AMMAN –– Calm was restored to the streets across Jordan Thursday morning after two days of riots over fuel price hikes that left one dead and scores injured and resulted in damage to property across the country.

An increased security presence was reported in cities across the country following an evening of violent riots over a government decision to lift fuel subsidies that resulted in over 30 arrests and the injury of some 20 security personnel.

The streets of major urban centres across the country were remained empty after noon prayers on Thursday after opposition forces and protest coalitions moved to suspend plans for nationwide demonstrations in light of Wednesday’s violence.

Activists said they decided to reverse an earlier call for protests following noon prayers, accusing “thugs” of hijacking yesterday’s demonstrations and carrying out a series of attacks on government institutions and police stations that resulted in excess damages and left two security personnel in critical condition.

Also on Thursday, the Senate issued a statement condemning the violence, calling on citizens to refrain from protesting in order to “deprive conspirators the opportunity” to undermine the country’s national security and unity.

While acknowledging citizens’ constitutional right to “civilised, peaceful” freedom of expression, Senators denounced acts of violence and vandalism which threatened to “destroy the country” as well as “jeopardise citizens’ safety and the homeland’s future.”

Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood-backed “Higher Council for Reform” called on His Majesty King Abdullah to intervene and reverse the Cabinet decision, which led to an immediate 33 per cent rise in diesel prices and more than 50 per cent in cooking gas prices.

In a statement posted on the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood’s website, the organisation called on the Royal Palace to issue an “emergency decision rescinding the raise in fuel prices” and the formation of a “national salvation government” comprising various political and social groups from across the Jordanian society.

In the statement, the Brotherhood criticised the government of Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour for what it described as “avoiding the responsibility of the crisis,” accusing Amman of attempting to shift the blame on the Islamist movement for the violent protests.

In a highly-anticipated move, the government lifted fuel subsidies late Tuesday, raising the price of 90-Octane gasoline by 15 per cent and diesel and kerosene by some 33 per cent.

The government said the move aimed to slash the country’s JD800 million fuel subsidies officials claim threaten to tip the country towards a financial crisis.


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