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Riots Escalate in Jordan Wednesday Marking First Fatality

Protests mark 'an unparalleled show of anger'

Common Dreams staff

Jordanian policemen prepare to disperse protesters blocking a main road during a demonstration against a rise in fuel prices in downtown Amman, Jordan, on Wednesday. Hundreds of Jordanians chanted slogans against the king and threw stones at riot police as they protested in several cities for a second day Wednesday amid rising anger over fuel price hikes. (Photo: Raad Adayleh / AP)

In a second day of angry demonstrations by protestors, the country of Jordan seems to have been drawn for the first time into the Arab Spring movement.

On Wednesday, the first fatality was reported and 17 were seriously wounded in northern Jordan and the capital city of Amman, The Guardian reports.

Gunmen attacked two police stations in Jordan on Wednesday, criticizing King Abdullah II for increasing prices of cooking and heating gas by 54 percent in an attempt to address Jordan's budget deficit.

And violent demonstrations broke out throughout the rest of the country on Wednesday, with protestors attempting to block traffic, torch cars and at least 20 government buildings, and storm the hoe of the Jordanian prime minister.

Reports indicate at least 120 people were arrested.

The Guardian reports:

Minutes after state television announcd the hike, several thousand Jordanians poured into the streets across the country, pelting police with stones, torching government offices and private cars and chanting slogans against the king"

The king "can't feel our pain," one protester told The Guardian. "He is watching the government raising the prices, while the people are barely able to feed their hungry children."

Zaki Bani Irsheid, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, said the protests were designed as "a wakeup call to the king to avoid a replica of the violencei in Egypt and Tunisia ... The street is seething with anger and an explosion is coming."

Wednesday's protests follow "an unparalleled show of anger directed at the king after months of mounting tension," The New York Times reported Wednesday.

Many people feel the increases target the poor rather than the wealthy, Al Jazeera reporter Nisreen El Shamayleh wrote on Wednesday.

Laws forbid public criticism of King Abdullah II, but protestors on Wednesday chanted "Freedom is from God, in spite of you Abdullah," Al Jazeera reported.

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