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Jordanians stage strike against income tax bill, call for fall of govt.

Jordanian people and associations chant slogans during a strike against the new income tax law, in Amman, Jordan, on May 30, 2018. (Photo by Reuters)

Thousands of Jordanians have staged a strike against an income tax bill that they say will worsen an erosion in living standards, demanding the overthrow of the government of Hani Mulki.

Public and private sector employees on Wednesday took part in the strike, which was called earlier this week by unions to protest against sweeping tax amendments sent to parliament this month.

The unions had warned the government that the bill would impoverish employees already hit by unprecedented tax hikes implemented earlier this year.

Protesters gathered at the headquarters of the Professional Associations Union in the capital Amman on Wednesday, holding placards slamming the government and accusing politicians of corruption and squandering public funds.

"I can hardly afford anything with my salary. We are taxed for the air we breathe and now they are also looking to rip off our salaries. Everyone knows the law is unjust and it has to be withdrawn,” Hatem Samara, an engineer, said.

The call for the strike, which took place between 10:00 a.m. local time and 2:00 p.m., came after the prime minister refused to withdraw the bill which was rejected by many Jordanians.

People also protested against the rise in prices, calling for the overthrow of the Mulki’s government.

The country has a public debt of some $35 billion, equivalent to around 90 percent of its gross domestic product.

The price hike and steep tax increases, which Mulki introduced earlier in the year as mandated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), are meant to cut into the debt.

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