More unrest is expected to hit Israel's closest eastern neighbor on Friday when Jordan's local Muslim Brotherhood chapter leads a second protest against the government.
The Islamic Action Front – the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood and the chief opposition party to the government – is leading a movement to censure the monarchy over rising prices for foodstuffs and fuel.
Arab leaders have expressed concern that protests in Jordan could echo the riots that have toppled the 23-year-long government of Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Last week Jordanian Prime Minister Samir Rifai announced a $125 million package of subsidies for oil and sugar designed to calm protests over poverty and unemployment.
However, Islamic Action Front leader Hamza Mansour told reporters Thursday that his movement will hold more protests on Friday to pressure the government to cut prices.
In a claim similar to those of opposition leaders in Iran, Mansour told reporters the November 9 parliamentary elections had been “rigged” – despite the fact that his movement had boycotted the polls.
Mansour told reporters he wants King Abdullah II to “dismiss the cabinet, allow for the formation of an interim government that enjoys the confidence of the people until a Cabinet elected by the people is in place.”
Arab Leaders Fear Local Uprisings
Arab League secretary-general Amr Moussa warned Wednesday in a speech at the start of the body's economic summit in Sharm el-Sheikh that Arab leaders should learn a lesson from the uprising in Tunisia.
“It is on everyone's mind that the Arab self is broken by poverty, unemployment and a general slide in indicators,” calling the events in Tunisia an example of the “big social shocks” that await Arab societies.
“This is in addition to political problems that have not been resolved,” he said, according to the Associated Press.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak also noted that rising food prices and unemployment could threaten the status quo in Arab nations.
In an opening address to the gathering, Mubarak said, “We are not isolated from the world with its problems, challenges and crises. Employment and creating employment opportunities will remain one of the most important challenges we face... We have priorities to achieve food security and combat climate change impacts,” he added.
Analysts said Arab rulers are growing increasingly concerned over their vulnerability to popular uprisings by disgruntled citizenry, despite security from military backing.