Jordanian 'burns himself alive' amid calls for anti-government protests

Jordanian 'burns himself alive' amid calls for anti-government protests

A Jordanian civil servant has attempted to burn himself alive in an anti-government protest amid calls for demonstrations against a failing economy.
2 min read
21 February, 2017
Jordan's economy has been rattled from conflicts in neighbouring Syria and Iraq [Getty]

A civil servant in Jordan attempted to set himself on fire after being "repeatedly denied" a request to change his job within the government.

"The poverty-stricken father wanted to become a security guard because the shift work would allow him to find a second job to help feed his family," local sources said, according to The New Arab's Jordan correspondent.

"His request had been rejected multiple times, which led him to do what he did," they added.

Medical sources said that the unnamed public servant was in a critical condition in hospital.

The latest incident comes amid calls for nationwide anti-government protests against the recent decision to raise taxes on imported items the prices of some commodities as part of a financial agreement with the International Monetary Fund [IMF].

Opposition groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood and a group locally known as Herak, have called for demonstrations this coming Friday against harsh living conditions and official corruption.

Last year, the IMF approved a $723 million three-year line of credit to Jordan, aimed at boosting the kingdom amid a time of conflict in the region.

Jordan's economy has been rattled from conflicts in neighbouring Syria and Iraq.

Unemployment has jumped to 14 percent of the kingdom's population of 9.5 million, with the young the worst hit, according to government figures, while unofficial estimates put it as high as 30 percent.

Growth slumped to 2.4 percent in 2015, down from 3.1 percent the previous year.

The act of self-immolation has been used as a form of protest in the region many times.

In 2010, Tunisian street vendor Mohammad Bouazizi famously set himself on fire in protest of high prices and poor living conditions, sparking demonstrations which led to the ousting of longtime leader Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

Bouazizi's act triggered a wave of copycat incidents across the region with similar occurrences taking place in Algeria, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Israel.

This month, a Sudanese man attempted to self-immolate in the capital Khartoum after shouting criticism of longtime Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.