Jordan warns against imitating France's 'yellow vests' as anti-tax protests rock Amman
Jordan has warned its citizens against imitating France's 'yellow vest' protests after some Jordanians donned the high-visibility vests during recent demonstrations.
Hundreds of people protested in Jordan's capital on Thursday against the government's planned tax increases and high youth unemployment.
Some protesters near the prime minister's office scuffled with riot police who fired several rounds of tear gas. Several people dropped to the ground in coughing fits.
It marked the first time police and protesters clashed since regular Thursday night protests resumed several weeks ago.
Jordan's Minister of State for Media Affairs Jumana Ghunaimat had warned its citizens on Thursday against holding copycat 'yellow vest' protests in the kingdom, calling it unacceptable.
Earlier this week, video footage appeared on social media showing protesters in Aqaba and Irbid wearing the high visibility vests while demonstrating against unemployment.
The minister went on to blame Jordanian opposition figures residing abroad for seeking to create chaos in the country.
Previous demonstrations in the spring forced the resignation of then-Prime Minister Hani Mulki who was replaced by economist Omar Razzaz.
Razzaz promised a more inclusive style of governing but is also under pressure from international lenders to cut the government's large deficit.
Jordan's economy has been hit by the fallout from years of conflict in neighbouring Syria and Iraq, including trade disruptions and an influx of refugees.
Last week, Iraqi protesters donned high visibility jackets in Basra during demonstrations calling for improved public services, echoing the adoption of yellow vests by protesters in France.
Copycat protests in Tunisia, Israel and even the UK have been also reported, albeit for differing causes.
The "gilet jaune" (yellow vest) movement sprang up in late October in France against increases in fuel taxes announced as part of President Emmanuel Macron's efforts to pursue clean energy policies.
While the protests began over fuel taxes, they have snowballed into a wider movement against Macron, largely among people in small-town and rural France.
Egyptian authorities have quietly introduced restrictions on the sale of yellow reflective vests, fearing opponents might attempt to copy French protesters during next month's anniversary of the 2011 popular uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak, security officials and retailers said Monday.
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