More than 3,000 Jordanian trade unionists, Islamists and leftists held a sit-in on Sunday outside parliament to protest the government's economic policies."For how long should we pay the price of corruption and theft," read one of the banners carried by protesters who also held Jordanian and Islamist flags.
The demonstrators chanted "enough of lies, we lost our future," and called on Prime Minister Samir Rifai to "listen to the voice of the people." They chanted "Jordan's blood has been sucked, Poverty, starvation and unemployment, we've had enough," and "Jordanians are on fire... the soaring prices are killing us."
Parliament was in session during the sit-in, which comes after a popular revolt in Tunisia ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. On Saturday, about 50 Jordanian trade unionists held a sit-in outside the Tunisian embassy in Amman, shouting "Tunisia's revolution will spread."
Also on Friday thousands of Jordanians took to the streets in Amman and several other cities to protest soaring prices and unemployment, despite a 169-million-dollar plan to improve their living condition. Critics say the measures are not enough, complaining of rising unemployment and poverty as inflation last month hit 6.1 percent. Unemployment is around 14 percent, of which 70 percent is under 30. Other estimates put the unemployment figure at 30 percent. The minimum wage is 211 dollars a month.Poverty levels are running at 25 percent in the kingdom. The capital Amman is the most expensive city in the Arab world, according to several independent studies.