November 2012 Jordanian protests

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November 2012 Jordanian protests
Part of the Arab Spring
Jordan protest in front of police2.PNG
Protesters in Amman demonstrate in front of police in November 2012.
Date 13 November 2012 (2012-11-13) – 18 November 2012
Location Jordan
Causes

Fuel price rises [1]

Government corruption[2]
Parties to the civil conflict
Jordanian government and supporters
Opposition protesters
Casualties
2 dead[3]
13 police injured [4]
1 dead[5]
70 injured[6]

Protestors took to the streets of Jordan's capital Amman, as well as other cities on 13 November following a government decision to reduce fuel subsidies effecitely leading to an increase of 14% in fuel at the pump and 50% increase in prices of cooking oil.[7]

Background[edit]

Food inflation and salaries have been causes for resentment in the country, having led to protests the year before. The Tunisian Revolution and the Egyptian Revolution also raised hopes for political change in the region. Together with unrest elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa, including the disturbances in Syria and Yemen, they were part of the Arab Spring.

Protests[edit]

13 November[edit]

During the anti-government protests in November 2012, a small rally of people demonstrate their support for the King.

Protests erupted across the country nationwide in response to an increase in fuel prices and other basic goods announced by Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour. Demonstrators burned tires, smashed traffic lights and blocked roads in several Jordanian cities. Riot police officers tried to quell some of the crowds with tear gas. There were calls for a general strike on Wednesday. Protesters blamed Jordan's problems on King Abdullah II. They also demanded the resignation of the prime minister. About 2,000 protesters chanted ""Revolution, revolution, it is a popular revolution," and "Freedom is from God, in spite of you, Abdullah," in an impromptu demonstration at a main Amman square, housing the Interior Ministry and other vital government departments. Hours later, about two dozen protesters tried to take down a street portrait of the king hung on a billboard, but riot police encircled it, preventing the protesters from reaching it.[8] Some demonstrators dubbed the protests as November Gust, after Jordan's February 1989 uprising which was also sparked by a rise in commodity prices and led to the first parliamentary elections since the Arab-Israeli war of 1967.[9]

Elsewhere in Salt, 100 protesters pelted stones at policemen as they tried to break their lines to get to Ensour's home to demand his resignation. Riot police responded by firing tear gas. In some cities in Jordan's south, inhabited by tribal Bedouins who are traditional supporters of the king, hundreds of protesters took to the streets to chant slogans calling for the ouster of the prime minister, but also criticizing the king. In Mazar, dozens of protesters burned down the main court building after stealing documents. Further south in Ma'an, 500 protesters blocked the streets, burning tires and throwing stones at riot police, who were firing tear gas. There were no immediate reports of injuries. In Sareeh, angry protesters burned down a gas station.[10]

14 November[edit]

Protesters in Amman demonstrate in front of police in November 2012

Nationwide protests in Jordan continued for the second day as demonstrators threw rocks and denounced their king over price hikes. Teachers went on strike, and other unions announced a two-hour work stoppage for Sunday. The crowds included first-time protesters and tribal members who have been the king’s political base.

Violence was most severe in Irbid, where the authorities said a police station was attacked by armed demonstrators, leading to the fatal shooting of Qais al-Omari, 27, and injuries to a dozen police officers and four protesters. A police corporal was also injured when someone fired an automatic pistol from a moving car.

In Amman, dozens of officers in helmets and body armor blocked access to Dakhliyeh Circle, a popular sit-in site for hundreds crowded in front of their line, chanting slogans like “The people know who is the corrupt guy.” The demonstration began peacefully, but after a few hours protesters threw rocks and burned tires, and officers responded with tear gas. In Madaba, protesters tore down the king’s picture and burned it, then smashed windows of several banks, pulling the furniture from one and setting it aflame. Witnesses reported the looting of a discount store for government employees in Salt, and the riot police in Tafileh firing bullets into the air. In Karak, a southern city known for its staunch support of the monarchy, at least 2,000 protesters shouted "Down, down with you, Abdullah," and "Get out and leave us alone," burning the house of the governor.

In response to the protests, foreign minister Nasser Judeh said the government had tried to respond to the opposition over the past year with the establishment of an independent elections commission before balloting set for January 2013 and the formation of a constitutional court, among other changes.[11][12]

15 November[edit]

The country’s police chief Hussein Al-Majali said authorities will strike those who incite violence during protests with an “iron fist,” adding that he had “zero tolerance” for such actions. In a statement, at least 157 protesters, including two Syrian refugees, were arrested for "street violence" since Tuesday, claiming that the Syrians confessed to have been paid by an unidentified Jordanian political party to join protests to beef up crowd numbers.

The demonstrations also spread to the largest of Jordan’s 13 camps that host Palestinian refugees, a population which had refrained from protests since the outset of the Arab Spring uprisings. In Baqa'a, residents and police said some 400 young Palestinians pelted riot police with stones and burned tires to block streets, prompting riot police to fire tear gas. Youth activists expressed concern with the violent turn the protest had taken, and called for a return to non-violent demonstrations.[13]

The Jordanian government said Qais al-Omari was killed in a shootout with a group of armed men who assaulted a police station here on Wednesday night. But two members of his family and a witness to the killing said that he was unarmed, part of a group of about 30 unarmed men who walked to the police station to complain about abusive language they said officers had used while breaking up an earlier protest. Angry crowds then set fire to several government cars and burned down a municipal building, where a heavy contingent of plainclothes police officers was watching children play on Thursday.[14]

16 November - Friday of Anger[edit]

External video
Demonstrators in Dhiban demand establishing a "republic", 16 November on YouTube

Thousands of demonstrators chanted the Arab Spring slogan "The people want to overthrow the regime" in the nationwide Jordan after Friday prayers, with escalating calls for Jordan's King Abdullah II to abdicate. Friday's protest near the main Al-Hussein Mosque in downtown Amman was peaceful, with unarmed police separating the demonstrators denouncing the ruler from a smaller crowd chanting in support of the monarch. The main crowd of about 3,000 protesters chanted "Go down Abdullah, go down," as police, some in riot gear, largely stayed away from crowd.[15] However, Abdullah loyalists clashed with anti-government protesters near the city's Wasfi al-Tal square on Friday night, with dozens of protesters reportedly being beaten by the king's supporters.[16]

The AFP news agency estimated at around 10,000 people, including Islamists, leftists and youth activists, chanted "Freedom, freedom, down with Abdullah." Demonstrations were also held just outside Amman in the Baqa'a Palestinian refugee camp and in the cities of Tafilah, Karak, Ma'an, Irbid and Jerash to its north.[17]

Amid unprecedented protests by Jordanians calling for him to quit, King Abdullah II has cancelled a visit to United Kingdom he was due to make next week.[18]

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke with Jordan's King and "commended the Jordanian government's efforts to address their economic challenges, and the king's commitment to reform", however refused to draw parallels between the situation in Jordan, and the unrest last year in countries like Tunisia and Egypt, claiming that it was the International Monetary Fund said that Jordanian government subsidies were "not sustainable for a modern economy.[19]

17 November[edit]

Jordanian prime minister Abdullah Ensour defended his decision to raise prices for subsidized fuel, saying that shaky state finances forced him to hike prices for heating and cooking gas by 54 percent, and some oil derivatives by up to 28 percent. He said the removal of nearly all the state subsidies on fuel and gas products would spare the government further losses if oil prices went up, and generate funds that could be directed to needier economic sectors, however he assured low-income Jordanians that they will be compensated by $600 per year based on a household of six.[20]

Unknown assailants had set ablaze the Municipality building of Faqoua, north of Karak on Saturday morning. Civil Defense Department (CDS) cadres managed to contain the fire before it spread to adjacent buildings.[21]

There were no protests reported on the daylight.[22] However protests resumed on evening, with a protest denouncing the government's decision to float fuel prices was held in front of Nuh Al-Qudah Mosque in downtown Irbid, calling on the government to rescind its decision which caused a major hike in prices of oil derivatives and cooking gas, while a counter "loyalist" demonstration was held nearby, with Gendarmerie forces preventing any clashes between the two demonstrations, causing local shops and business to close.[23]

18 November[edit]

Jordanian unions held a strike to protest fuel price rises. The head of Jordan's 15-member professional associations body said all 15 unions except the nurses' union stopped working between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm on Sunday. Teachers' union also held a strike on Sunday, with spokesman Ayman al-Akur saying "the strike was observed by 70 to 75 percent of schools across the country", demanding the king intervene to reverse the decision to raise fuel prices.[24]

King Abdullah II visited the public security and gendarmerie personnel who were injured in fuel price riots and are receiving treatment at King Hussein Medical Center and wished them a speedy recovery. He praised security forces' discipline and self-restraint in dealing with the latest riots and the protest movement that began about two years ago.[25]

International reaction[edit]

The United States expressed support for the monarch, saying they "support King Abdullah II’s road map for reform and the aspirations of the Jordanian people to foster a more inclusive political process that will promote security, stability, as well as economic development.”[26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/58316.aspx
  2. ^ http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/58316.aspx
  3. ^ http://www.yourmiddleeast.com/news/second-policeman-dies-after-jordan-fuel-unrest_11513
  4. ^
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/nov/15/jordan-police-station-attack-protests
  5. ^ "Jordan police stations attacked by gunmen during protest". The Guardian (London). 15 November 2012. 
  6. ^ http://www.ubalert.com/S23?open_ctab=1
  7. ^ Rudoren, Jodi (13 November 2012). "Jordan Faces Protests After Gas-Price Proposal". The New York Times. 
  8. ^ Rudoren, Jodi (13 November 2012). "Riots Erupt Across Jordan Over Gas Prices". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  9. ^ "Protesters demand "fall of the regime" in Jordan". Al-Akhbar. 14 November 2012. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  10. ^ Halaby, Jamal (14 November 2012). "Jordan raises fuel prices, sparking protests". Associated Press (via Google News). Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  11. ^ Halaby, Jamal (14 November 2012). "Jordan: 1 gunman killed in police station attacks". Associated Press (via Google News). Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  12. ^ Rudoren, Jodi; Kadri, Ranya (14 November 2012). "Protests Over Gas Prices in Jordan Turn Deadly". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  13. ^ "Jordanian police vow strong response to violence, opposition plans more protests". Associated Press (via Washington Post). 15 November 2012. Retrieved 16 November 2012. [dead link]
  14. ^ Kirkpatrick, David D. (15 November 2012). "Protests in Jordan Continue, With Calls for Ending the King’s Rule". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 November 2012. 
  15. ^ "Jordan protesters call for 'downfall of the regime'". Reuters. 16 November 2012. Retrieved 18 November 2012. 
  16. ^ "Jordan unrest: Clashes after fuel protest". BBC. 16 November 2012. Retrieved 18 November 2012. 
  17. ^ Hattar, Musa (16 November 2012). "Jordan protesters call for 'downfall of the regime'". Google News). Agence France-Presse. Retrieved 18 November 2012. 
  18. ^ Hattar, Musa (16 November 2012). "Jordan’s king cancels Britain visit amid protests". Business Line. Retrieved 18 November 2012. 
  19. ^ "Jordan's economic reforms a 'necessary pain': US". Google News. Agence France-Presse. 17 November 2012. Retrieved 18 November 2012. 
  20. ^ "Jordan’s prime minister defends price rise after 4 days of unrest". The Washington Post. Associated Press. 17 November 2012. Retrieved 20 November 2012. [dead link]
  21. ^ Municipality Building Torched in Karak. En.ammonnews.net (17 November 2012).
  22. ^ Calm prevails throughout Jordan following fuel price riots. The Jordan Times (17 November 2012).
  23. ^ "Counter-Protests Erupt in Irbid, Shops Close Down". En.ammonnews.net (17 November 2012).
  24. ^ Jordan unions strike against fuel price hikes. Ahram Online, (18 November 2012).
  25. ^ King, Tribal chiefs visit security personnel injured in riots. En.ammonnews.net (18 November 2012).
  26. ^ Kirkpatrick, David D. (15 November 2012). "Protests in Jordan Continue, With Calls for Ending the King’s Rule". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 November 2012.