AMMAN, Jordan — Hundreds of Jordanians chanted slogans against the king and threw stones at riot police as they protested in several cities for a second day today amid rising anger over fuel price hikes.
Jordan, a key U.S. ally, has so far weathered nearly two years of Arab unrest that has seen longtime rulers toppled in Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Tunisia. The kingdom has seen nearly two years of street protests calling for political reforms, but they have largely been peaceful and rarely targeted King Abdullah II himself.
Tensions rose late Tuesday after the government announced it was raising prices for cooking and heating gas by 54 percent to reduce a massive budget deficit and secure a $2 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund.
The protests were a rare show of criticism aimed at Jordan’s Western-oriented monarch, who has the final say on all civic matters and has implemented a series of political reforms in a bid to stave off the unrest that has been sweeping the Middle East for two years.