Friday, January 21, 2011

Jordanians march again against government

More than 5,000 people rallied in Amman and other cities after weekly prayers on Friday against Jordan's economic policies, demanding "bread and freedom" and that the government resign. It was the second weekend of protests in Jordan. Thousands took to the streets in a similar protest on Friday last week.
The protesters chanted slogans against prime minister Samir Rifai, ('Rifai out, out!) as they marched from the Al-Hussein mosque to the nearby municipality building in central Amman. Other slogans were "Our demands are legitimate. We want bread and freedom,"
Police handed out bottles of water and juice to the demonstrators. The protest was organised by the Muslim Brotherhood and its political arm, the Islamic Action Front (IAF). In other parts of Jordan people took 
to the streets as well. Some 1,400 people demonstrated in the northern cities of Zarqa and Irbid.
Rifai on Thursday announced a $283m plan to raise salaries of government staff as well as the pensions of retired government employees and servicemen. The plans come down to a raise of $28 a month. Last week a  $169m plan to improve living conditions was launched.The current minimum wage is $211 a month.
However, the Islamist opposition and others say the new measures are not enough as poverty levels are running at 25 per cent in the kingdom, whose capital is the most expensive city in the Arab world. 'These measures are designed to drug people, nothing more. We need comprehensive reforms,' said prominent unionist Maisarah Malas.

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