Jordanians protest fuel hike

Nov. 14, 2012 at 6:26 AM
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AMMAN, Jordan, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- The Jordanian Teachers Association went on strike Wednesday to protest high fuel costs announced by the government, a Jordanian official said.

Mustafa Rawashdeh, head of the Teachers Association, told the Jordanian website the teachers hope their actions will force the government to lower the price of fuels.

Their decision comes after a night of angry demonstrations, spurred by the government's announcement that it will stop subsidies on fuel derivatives and raise the price of four fuel products throughout Jordan.

Two police officers suffered critical gunshot wounds in protests in Taibeh and Irbid, the Jordanian website said. Jordanian police used tear gas to disperse the protesters in some towns and cities protesters damaged property, the website said. Demonstrations were also reported in Karak, Dhiban, Salt and Tafileh. In Ma'an, protesters looted a market and blocked the main desert highway, the website said.

The government's decision to lift subsidies and raise the cost of some fuel products was taken to avoid further financial losses, The Jordan Times quoted Jordanian Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour as saying.

"In the past 18 months of the Arab Spring, Jordan has lost between $4 [billion]-$5 billion at least as a result of oil stoppage, especially the Egyptian gas supplies," the official Jordanian news agency Petra quoted Ensour as saying on national television.

The price of gasoline, diesel, kerosene and cooking gas will all be affected, the newspaper said. Ensour said low-income families would be compensated and receive annual stipends, said.

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