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Protests take more serious turn Friday night against income tax law, fuel price hikes

By JT - Jun 02,2018 - Last updated at Jun 02,2018

Protesters gather following Friday prayers to rally against the income tax bill and fuel and electricity price hikes near Hussein Mosque downtown Amman (Petra photo)

AMMAN – Despite decision by the government, upon orders by His Majesty King Abdullah, to cancel significant hikes in the prices of fuel and electricity driven by the rising prices of crude on international markets, riots and protests were reported in almost every corner of the country according to local coverage and social media posts, including the official news agency.

Road closures, burning tyres, chanting anti-government slogans, calling on the government to step down and parking cars in the middle of main veins in Amman and several government were recorded, with reports of police intervention to bring the snowballing situation under control.

His Majesty on Friday ordered the government to freeze new price hikes on fuel derivatives and electricity.

In a statement run by the Jordan News Agency, Petra, Prime Minister Hani Mulki said upon directives from the King the decision to raise the prices of fuel and electricity that were announced Thursday will be frozen for the current month.

The Premier said the decision takes into account the economic conditions during the holy month of Ramadan.

On Thursday night, thousands of Jordanians gathered in front of the Prime Ministry protesting the hikes in prices of fuel derivatives and electricity. Several other protests were held across the country's governorates in protest of the government's decision and in rejection of the income tax draft law and were released later.

The protests gained momentum after the government announced an increase of electricity prices by 23.5 per cent and fuel derivatives between 4.5 per cent to 5.5 per cent, citing rise in prices of crude oil globally.

Social media videos purported hundreds of youth protesting, violently in some cases, against the decision and the controversial income tax law, two days after a nationwide strike and rallies grabbed headlines, led by the professional associations. In some incidents, gun fire was reported against police stations, according to the reports.

The prime minister and professional association leaders are expected to meet at the Parliament Saturday to discuss the law, after the strike leader rejected to offer any compromise regarding their demand that the government withdraw it from the Lower House.

The law broadens taxpayers' base by 5 per cent and toughen penalties on tax evaders.


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