Hundreds protest over high prices in south Jordan

Fri Jan 14, 2011 2:44pm GMT
 

* Demonstrations in four centres across Jordan

* Protests come despite government steps to curb prices

* Islamists plan sit-in at parliament on Sunday

By Suleiman al-Khalidi

KARAK, Jordan, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Food price protests sweeping across North Africa and the Middle East reached Jordan on Friday, when hundreds of protesters chanted slogans against Prime Minister Samir al-Rifai in the southern city of Karak.

The peaceful protest was held despite hastily announced government measures to curb commodity and fuel prices. Similar demonstrations were held in three other towns and cities across the country, witnesses said.

"We are protesting the policies of the government -- high prices and repeated taxation that made the Jordanian people revolt," Tawfiq al-Batoush, a former head of Karak municipality, told Reuters at the protest outside Karak's Al Omari mosque.

Three days ago, after riots in Algeria and Tunisia over high prices, unemployment and falling living standards, Jordan announced a $225 million package of cuts in the prices of some types of fuel and of staple products including sugar and rice..

Other Arab countries have taken similar steps. Libya abolished taxes and customs duties on food products and Morocco offered compensation to importers of soft milling wheat to keep supplies stable after a surge in grain prices..   Continued...

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