His Majesty King Abdullah II on Friday ordered his Prime Minister Hani Mulki to instruct the Ministers of Industry and Trade, Finance, Energy and Mineral Resources, to suspend the decision to raise fuel and electricity for the month of June, using subsidies that would cost the Crown $22.5 million.
But Jordanians—who are, in reality, “Palestinians”—continued to demonstrate in the capital Amman for a third consecutive day on Saturday. The protests began on Wednesday, when the mobs flooded the streets of Amman and other cities to demand regime change.
Riots and protests erupted throughout the country, resulting in road closures, burning tires, chanting of anti-government slogans, parking cars in the middle of main highways in Amman. The rioters were met by stiff police response to bring the situation under control.
On Thursday night, thousands of Jordanians gathered in front of the Prime Minister’s office, and protested the hikes in prices of fuel, fuel derivatives and electricity. They also protested the government’s draft income tax law, which aims to increase paycheck taxes by at least 5% and on businesses by between 20% and 40%.
Jordan is the latest third-world victim of the International Monetary Fund, which has caused unrest and even violent revolutions over the past three decades. In 2016, the IMF granted Jordan a $723 million loan in a three-year program to support economic and financial reforms aimed at lowering public debt and accelerating growth.
The IMF deal was aimed at reducing Jordan’s public debt from 94% to 77% of the gross domestic product by 2021. Jordan’s debt has risen to $32 billion in five years as the economic strains of the country’s absorbing more than a million refugees from the Syrian civil war reduced revenues and foreign aid, forcing Jordan to keep borrowing to make up the difference.