AMMAN – The jubilant mood in the Jordanian capital Tuesday, following the
national soccer team’s 2-1 defeat of Syria in the latest round of the Asia Cup
tournament the previous day, was only a minor detraction from growing tensions
this week as citizens have expressed anger over their country’s deteriorating
economic situation and the government’s failure to control the price increases
on essential goods.
But although widespread dissatisfaction led to a
series of unplanned demonstrations in the country’s major cities last Friday
after the noontime prayers, and similar demonstrations are planned this coming
weekend, vendors in downtown Amman told The Jerusalem Post
this week that the
situation in their country did not mirror that of Tunisia.RELATED:'King Abdullah is very nervous' about Jordanian oppositionJordan puts on trial pro-Taliban militants
“Jordan is not
like Tunisia,” one shop owner, who preferred to remain anonymous, said in an
interview. “People are happy with the king, but they are angry with the
The man, whose clothing store is opposite Al-Husseini mosque
– the site where more than 5,000 people gathered in protest last Friday – added,
“The demonstrations here were peaceful. People were upset because they think
that the wholesalers are making big profits on the backs of the people and that
the government is doing nothing to stop it.
“The people feel like the
prices are burning a hole in their pockets, yet their salaries remain the same,”
continued the seller. “People are just fed up with the
Another Jordanian, who identified himself as Imad, said that
events in Tunisia sent a message to other Arab leaders that the people in the
region were unhappy and “all dictatorships should fall.”
But he said
little about the situation in his own country, except that people’s anger was
aimed at government corruption and not at the king.
Even before last
week’s protests, the king had given instructions to the government to reduce
prices and take tangible measures to address the economic situation immediately.
The government responded by lowering the
cost of fuel and 13 essential items, including sugar, rice and
However, people believe these measures have not gone far enough. On
Sunday, opposition leaders and trade unionists announced their intention to join
citizens in further demonstrations this weekend.
In Tunisia, similar
demonstrations against growing prices and unemployment started more than a month
ago after an unemployed graduate student, Muhammad Bouazizi, who was forced to
sell fruit and vegetables on the streets of the small town of Sidi Bouzid, set
himself on fire in protest when authorities confiscated his fruit stand and
destroyed his livelihood.
His death three days later sparked widespread
violent protests across Tunisia, which eventually forced president Zine
el-Abidine Ben Ali, the country’s leader for the past 23 years, to
In other Arab countries, such as Algeria, Egypt, Mauritania and
Somalia, similar but smaller demonstrations against the economic hardships and
corruption have also taken place, with at least five people setting themselves
on fire in protest.