Jordanians protest over fuel price rises, day after policeman killed in riots
AMMAN (Reuters) – Jordanians staged sit-ins on Friday and activists called for more protests over fuel price rises that have added to a cost-of-living squeeze, a day after riots in a southern city left one police officer dead, witnesses and security sources said.
The authorities said the policeman was killed on Thursday night by a gunshot fired by an unidentified individual when armed officers entered a neighborhood of Maan to quell riots. Youths who attacked government property in the city, witnesses said.
Tensions have mounted in Maan and several cities in southern Jordan in particular after sporadic strikes by truck drivers protesting against high fuel prices and demanding cuts in diesel prices. Fuel rises have added to the squeeze on households.
Although the streets were calm on Friday, sporadic protests continued with a sit-in front of Maan’s main mosque and a mosque in the capital Amman after Friday prayers, while activists called for more demonstrations.
Overnight, riot police chased scores of youths throwing stones in Amman, Zarqa, Irbid and other cities. [L1N33535U]
Internet users and activists said Internet services faced slowdowns in several regions, disrupting social media platforms which activists used to share footage of clashes with police.
The government has promised to examine truck strikers’ demands but says it has already has paid more than 500 million dinars ($700 million) to cap fuel prices this year and cannot do much more if it wants to avoid breaching an International Monetary Fund deal.
Other protests in recent years have usually been peaceful and involved demands for democratic reforms and calls to curb corruption.