Opposition vows more protests in Jordan
Thousands of Jordanian demonstrators attend a protest rally against Jordan's economic policies, on January 21, 2011 in the capital Amman.
Islamist opposition in Jordan has called for fresh protests against the government's policies, saying it would press ahead with its campaign to force political and economic reforms.
Muslim Brotherhood, one of the largest opposition groups in Jordan, on Wednesday urged Jordanians to pour into streets later in the week to protest against Prime Minister Samir Rifai's economic policies and the political situation in the kingdom.
"We will hold rallies across Jordan after Friday prayers to demand improved living conditions as well as political and economic reforms," Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Jamil Abu Baker told AFP on Wednesday, adding that "such activities will continue until our demands are met."
In the past two weeks, thousands of Jordanians have staged peaceful protest rallies in the capital Amman and other cities, calling for political and economic reforms.
Chanting anti-government slogans, the demonstrators denounced economic reforms introduced by the prime minister, which led to cuts in subsidies for basic commodities, saying Rifai's policies have caused the soaring food and fuel prices, unemployment and poverty.
The protesters also demanded that prime minister be democratically elected rather than appointed by the King.
Inspired by Tunisian revolution, Jordanians say they will keep up the pressure until Rifai and his government resign.
Also on Wednesday, Jordan's King Abdullah II stressed the need for a program of political and economic reforms in the country to tackle popular grievances.
"Abdullah II insisted on the need to move forward with clear and transparent programs of political and economic reform, which will allow the kingdom to overcome the economic challenges, and assure Jordan and Jordanians the decent future they deserve," the royal palace cited the king as saying.
"The king underlined the need for senators and all officials to be in constant contact with the people in all provinces of the kingdom to hear their grievances and open a completely frank dialogue with them on their ambitions, their interests and the issues of the day," it added.
In response to the mass anti-government rallies, Jordan's prime minister has announced a pay raise for civil servants as well as the pensions of retired employees and expansion of a state subsidy program.