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Jordan: Thousands Protest against Tax Rises and Austerity Measures

Thousands of demonstrators have protested in Jordan for a third consecutive night against tax rises and austerity measures.

There are the biggest demonstrations in years.

Riot police fired tear gas and blocked roads in the capital Amman to stop protesters getting close to the cabinet office.

The protesters say a new tax bill backed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will hurt the poor and middle class.

King Abdullah of Jordan has called for compromise from all sides.

Protesters chanted anti-government slogans and called for King Abdullah to dismiss PM Hani Mulki have been holding vigils near the cabinet office.

Image source Wikimediameasures

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There have also been some protests in provincial towns, where police have reportedly used tear gas. In the southern town of Maan protesters burned tires on highways and there were scuffles with police, Reuters reported.

Jordanians have seen prices rise with salaries failing to keep up.

On June 1, King Abdullah intervened to freeze an increase in fuel prices.

However, the protesters are angriest about the proposed tax bill, which they fear will further worsen living standards.

PM Hani Mulki has refused to scrap the IMF-backed tax bill, saying it was up to parliament to decide whether to pass it or not.

The government says it needs the money to fund public services and says the new tax bill will see higher earners pay more.

Earlier this year sales tax was increased and bread subsidies were scrapped as part of a plan to cut Jordan’s debt.

Hani Mulki said he hoped the reforms needed to get Jordan’s economy “back on track” would be complete by mid-2019.

King Abdullah has said that conflict in neighboring Syria and Iraq has worsened Jordan’s financial situation.

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