Posts Tagged ‘ 2012 Protests in Jordan ’

Jordanian protesters call for reforms, ouster of prime minister

Sat Feb 18, 2012

Jordanian people have staged protest rallies across the country, calling for political and economic reforms, constitutional amendment and resignation of Prime Minister Awn Al-Khasawneh.

Protesters took to streets in several cities including Karak, Tafileh, Salt, Ma’an and Irbid after Friday prayers.

Citizens of Tafileh demanded the implementation of reforms promised by the government.

In Karak, hundreds of demonstrators urged the government to end the mounting “security pressures” on Jordanian people and protesters.

Chanting anti-government slogans, protesters in Tafileh announced their support for a nationwide strike by Jordanian teachers who demand better pay and full annual bonuses.

Most of the country’s 1.4 million public schoolchildren are staying at home as a majority of the nearly 120,000 teachers have kept away from the kingdom’s 3,370 public schools since early February.

Jordanians have been holding street protests since January 2011, demanding political reforms, including the election of the prime minister by popular vote and an end to corruption.

Since the beginning of protest rallies, Jordanian ruler King Abdullah II has sacked two prime ministers in a bid to avoid more protests. Khasawneh, a judge at International Court of Justice, became Jordan’s third premier this year.

The king has also amended 42 articles in the 60-year-old constitution, giving parliament a stronger role in decision-making but the changes have failed to convince people.

Source: PressTV.

Teachers strike continues for second day

by Laila Azzeh
Feb 08,2012

Gov’t downplays extent of work stoppage, but teachers, parents say otherwise.

AMMAN – As a nationwide strike by public school teachers entered its second day on Tuesday, activists warned that the government’s “silence” and “negativity” in dealing with the teachers’ demands will only “make things worse for all involved parties”.

Ministry of Education Spokesperson Ayman Barakat issued a statement yesterday saying that classes were held as usual in many schools across Jordan, while some schools only held certain classes, and teachers refused to teach at all in others.

However, teachers and parents claimed that more teachers took part in the strike yesterday than on Monday, expressing their “surprise” over the government’s stance in “playing down the protest”.

“Students, especially those in secondary school, are the ones most harmed by the teachers’ escalatory measures… they are victims of the government’s inflexibility and the teachers’ insistence on using students to place pressure [on the government],” said Saeed Qatameen, who has three sons that attend a public school in Tafileh.

Parents gathered outside several schools in various governorates yesterday, threatening to head to court if teachers continue their work stoppage and asking the government to intervene so their children can start their spring semester, describing the teachers’ action as “irresponsible”.

“Parents should understand that improving the situation of teachers is a win-win situation,” Raed Azzam of the Amman Free Teachers Committee countered, asking how parents believe that teachers who spend their nights “frying falafel” can provide their children a proper education.

Yesterday’s strike, which activists said took place in more than 90 per cent of the Kingdom’s state schools, took a new turn when directors of the schools and education departments started “threatening” and “interrogating” teachers.

“They wanted to pressure teachers to end their strike by terrorizing them,” Azzam charged, stressing that this act is considered a “dangerous turn in an already appalling situation”.

Barakat voiced the ministry’s commitment to communicate with teachers and meet their “achievable” demands.

The teachers’ main demand is an increase in their professional allowance from 70 per cent to 100 per cent of their basic salary.

Under the recently enacted public sector salary restructuring plan, allowances of all workers in the education sector were unified at 70 per cent of their basic salary.

The ministry has proposed raising the allowance from 70 to 80 per cent retroactively from the beginning of this year and phasing in the remaining 20 per cent in 2013 and 2014, but the compromise offer was met with outrage, as teachers said they have been waiting for their full professional allowance for more than 16 years.

Meanwhile, Minister of Public Sector Development Khleif Al Khawaldeh underlined that raises in the salaries of teachers and employees in the education ministry under the salary restructuring plan are considered “rewarding” in light of the difficult economic situation, especially when compared to the raises granted to other public sector employees.

In a statement to the Jordan News Agency, Petra, he added that the salary restructuring plan will cost the government JD110 million after its latest decision to raise teachers’ professional allowances gradually over three years, which he said would cost JD76 million or 61 per cent of the total cost of the restructuring plan.

Khawaldeh underlined that the government’s decision to raise the professional allowance to 100 per cent over three years was “out of its commitment to the role teachers play in the educational process”.

Source: The Jordan Times.

Jordanians join Syrians to protest Russia’s UN veto

by Muath Freij
Feb 08,2012

AMMAN — Around 100 Jordanians and Syrians gathered outside the Russian embassy on Tuesday in protest against the Russian veto of a UN Security Council resolution to condemn the Syrian regime’s crackdown on protesters.

Organized by the Jordanian Commission to Support the Syrian People (JCSSP), the one-hour demonstration was the third held outside the Russian embassy since the beginning of this month.

JCSSP President Ali Abul Sukkar said yesterday’s demonstration was held to denounce Russia’s veto, which he said provided the Syrian regime with a license to continue killing its people.

He noted that the JCSSP’s demonstrations are meant not only to express solidarity with Syrians, but also to help raise awareness among Jordanians of the need to support refugees.

“We are encouraging charitable societies to raise funds and distribute clothing to Syrian refugees across the Kingdom. We hope that international organizations take notice of the Syrian refugees, because their numbers are increasing,” Abul Sukkar told The Jordan Times during the protest yesterday.

“We have representatives in the governorates of Karak, Maan, Irbid and Zarqa. We try to help as much as possible,” he added.

Abul Sukkar indicated that businessmen are also cooperating with the JCSSP by hiring some Syrian refugees to help them earn a living.

“Unfortunately some refugees are not able to work because of the psychological shock caused by the massacres in Syria,” the JCSSP president stressed.

Some 3,000 Syrian refugees have registered with the UNHCR in Jordan, while estimates of their total number range from 4,000 to 8,000.

Abul Sukkar explained that the situation in Syria is of particular concern to Jordanians, motivating them to go into the streets to protest the violence.

“Photos and videos of massacres in Syria are really awful and they encourage Jordanians to participate in any demonstration or event that can help support Syrian refugees,” he said.

Raeda Atoum, a Jordanian demonstrator, agreed, adding that Syrians and Jordanians are brothers.

“A group of my friends are collecting money and clothing for refugees. The massacres are a tragedy for both Jordanians and Syrians,” she said.

Atoum noted that she took part in yesterday’s demonstration to denounce the negative stance of Russia.

“Although the number of killings is increasing significantly, I sense that the last days of [Syrian President] Bashar Assad are about to come,” she told The Jordan Times.

Omar Masri, another protester, asserted that Russia’s position on Syria has ruined its “bright image” in the Arab world.

He also denounced the Arab states’ unwillingness to take action to stop the violence in Syria, adding that the only thing they can do is denounce.

Haitham Yasin, another Jordanian protester, claimed that Russia used its veto only to assert its relevance in the international community.

“They also wanted to oppose the US,” he said.

Aziza, a Syrian protester who refused to reveal her full name, stated that only God will help them defeat the regime.

“We are not waiting for the Security Council or any other party’s help. God and the Free Syrian Army will overcome the regime,” she said.

Source: The Jordan Times.