Anti-lockdown protests continue in Jordan

The current round of protests started after reports of the death of at least 9 people in a government hospital due to lack of oxygen on Saturday night

March 17, 2021 by Peoples Dispatch
Photo : Middle East Online

The Jordanian state used heavy force to disperse anti-lockdown protests all across the country, injuring several of the protesters who came out on the street on Monday, March 15. The protests in Jordan broke out on Saturday night following the news of the death of nine people due to lack of oxygen in a government hospital near capital Amman. 

Blaming the government for the catastrophe, the protesters demanded an end to the lockdown and night curfews. Some of them also demanded the resignation of the government and the dissolution of the parliament which was elected late last year. Thousands of police and security personnel were deployed by the state in the capital Amman and other cities to curb the protests. The police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the protesters leading to several injuries.

Authorities also blocked social media sites such as Facebook for several hours to curb the dissemination of information related to the protests. 

Though Jordan’s prime minister Bisher al-Khasawneh later fired the health minister and later King Abdullah II also visited the hospital located in the city of Salt, near Amman, the protests continued. At some places leaders of the opposition parties organized and led the protests. 

Several of the opposition members of the Jordanian parliament signed a petition demanding that the government headed by al-Khasawneh resign, Arab News reported.

The suffering of the common people in Jordan has increased due to disruptions in their economic activities since the imposition of emergency and strict lockdowns after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. There has been an alarming fall in peoples’ overall living standards. Jordan witnessed one of the worst recessions in decades last year and the unemployment rate has increased to 24 percent, while poverty is on the rise. 

A country of less than 10 million, Jordan has reported more than 5,428 deaths and over 486,000 cases of COVID-19 so far. It is currently witnessing the highest numbers in fresh infections with Monday having a record 9,417 new cases.