King Abdullah II of Jordan asked Prime Minister Hani Mulki to resign on Monday, June 4, and for Omar al-Razzaz, a former World Bank economist, to forge a new government amid continuing large anti-government protests. Thousands of protesters have staged demonstrations in Amman and other Jordanian cities in recent days over an income tax draft law and now-abandoned plans to raise the prices of electricity and fuel; hundreds of people reportedly staged demonstrations in the capital on the night of Sunday, June 3 (local time), including many who gathered in front of the cabinet office calling for the ousting of Mulki if the income tax draft law is not scrapped. According to police, at least 60 protesters have been arrested and some 42 security forces personnel have been wounded in the protests. Additional protests, clashes between protesters and security forces, and consequent localized traffic disruptions are expected in the coming days.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF)-backed austerity measures, including raising taxes and removing subsidies, are part of a three-year initiative aimed at reducing the country's debt, which remains at 95 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
Several protests have been held in Jordan in recent months over tax and price hikes. In addition to the abovementioned protests, demonstrations broke out after the Jordanian government increased the prices of fuel and bread, as well as implemented a value-added tax on various consumer goods such as cigarettes, carbonated drinks, and jewelry in January 2018. In February, the government also announced hikes to public transport fares, including taxis and buses, and electricity and oil prices, leading to more demonstrations.
Individuals in Jordan, particularly in Amman, are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all demonstrations as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
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