The biggest protests in years in Jordan brought down the country’s prime minister and his cabinet on Monday.
After four nights of anti-government protests in Amman and other cities, Jordan’s King Abdullah II summoned Prime Minister Hani al-Mulki to the palace, where Mulki tendered his resignation.
Jordan’s education minister Omar Razzaz, a Harvard-educated economist, has been appointed the new prime minister and will name a new cabinet. It will be up to him to defuse a crisis over a tax plan — for Jordanians, the last straw in a long list of burdensome austerity measures imposed in the midst of the country’s economic crisis.
Late Sunday and early into Monday, several thousand Jordanians took to the streets in Amman and other cities, blocking roads, burning tires and calling on the king to replace the government.
In Amman’s upscale Shmeisani district, an estimated 2,000 protesters from all over the city gathered to try to make their way to the prime minister’s office. Hundreds of riot police, arrayed in rows down the empty streets, blocked their way.
After continuous price hikes on everything from bread to electricity, protesters said a proposed law that would levy income tax even on those making as little as $11,000 a year had pushed them over the edge.
“This is the straw that broke the camel’s back,” said Hanadi Dweik, a children’s tutor and former head of administration at a bank. She said even her middle-class family had trouble paying water and electricity bills.
“This government is leading the country to total chaos,” she said. “They keep adding more taxes while we have no services. We don’t even have a decent transportation system… It’s enough. Enough is enough.”
The demonstrations were the biggest since the Arab Spring seven years ago when people across the region demanded reform.
(National Public Radio)