12/15/2022, 16.51
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Lorry drivers strike over high fuel prices, merchants offer their solidarity

In addition to lorry drivers, several businesses have closed. Protesters could shut down roads tomorrow. In the main port on the Red Sea, goods are piling up. For now, haulage to Iraq and Saudi Arabia has not been impacted. Protest is at risk of turning violent.


Amman (AsiaNews) – Thousands of lorry drivers in Jordan are on strike over costly fuel, staging protests that do not seem to be ending any time soon.

So far, the protests have been peaceful and have found a favourable echo among large sections of the public also been affected by the crisis.

Many merchants and shop owners back the lorry drivers, and shut their businesses yesterday as a sign of solidarity.

Partial work stoppages and sit-ins have affected mainly Jordan's impoverished southern provinces, with strikers demanding the government reduce diesel prices, saying mounting costs have led to losses for their businesses.

The crisis has led to congestion in the country's main Red Sea port of Aqaba where cargo has piled up, disrupting regular haulage of imported goods to the capital Amman and other cities.

In some provincial cities like Maan, Tafila and Karak, some businesses closed in solidarity with striking lorry drivers.

“They have not left us with dignity, officials don't feel for us. We cannot feed our kids anymore," said Abdullah Kreishan, a lorry driver from Maan.

Some strikers have threatened to stage street protests tomorrow in various parts of the country, especially provincial cities.

In the past, anger at the authorities over worsening living standards, corruption and inflation triggered riots and unrest in the Hashemite kingdom.

More recently, the government promised to look into the strikers' demands but noted it already spent more than 500 million dinars (US0 million) to cap fuel price hikes this year.

The high cost of fuel is linked to a structural reform programme agreed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), whereby prices are adjusted monthly to keep them in line with global market fluctuations.

Jordan has a fleet of about 20,000 lorries, many owned by individuals, who complain of worsening living conditions and inflation, making it impossible for them to stay in business.

However, haulage of goods and cargo to the main neighbouring Iraqi and Saudi markets has not been severely affected.

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