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Now It’s Jordan’s Turn

January 29, 2011

It may be small, but the trend is clear. People are sick and tired of autocrats and the ruling elite. The Middle East is unraveling little by little. Pressure is being brought to bear and those who wish to survive upheaval better do as Libya and cough up great sums of monies they have stashed in their coffers to placate the masses.

Reuters reports today:

Inspired by unrest in Tunisia and elsewhere in the region, about 200 Jordanians gathered outside the prime minister’s office shouting “Our government is a bunch of thieves” and holding banners reading “No to poverty or hunger.”

“We’ve come from distant, rural areas to Amman to ask Rifai to leave,” said Mohammed Sunaid, a prominent labor activist.

“We call for the overthrow of this government that has destroyed the poor. This government should be for all Jordanians not just the rich.”

Jordan is struggling with its worst economic downturn in decades. The government has announced measures to cut prices of essentials, create jobs and raise salaries of civil servants.

Protesters say the moves do not go far enough and have staged rallies calling for the reversal of free-market reforms which many blame for a widening gap between rich and poor.

Protesters say the sale of state assets to foreign investors over the past decade has enriched the country’s business and political elite but has done little to help the poor.

In another Reuters report:

Libya has set up a $24-billion fund for investment and local development that will focus on providing housing for its rapidly growing population, the online Oea newspaper reported on Thursday.Quoting Industry and Trade Minister Mohammed Hweji, Oea said the setting up of the fund follows “decreases in custom and tax duties on food products and in prices of other staples”.

In rare unrest, coinciding with a popular revolt in neighbouring Tunisia, Libyan citizens earlier this month occupied hundreds of homes that were still under construction and ransacked the offices of foreign contractors who are building them.

The timing is so right on as the ruling elite in Libya realize they are facing perilous times.

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