2011-01-16 Syria, Jordan and Algeria Respond to Protest Threat

Arab leaders are demonstrably nervous as protests continue throughout the Arab world, fueled by hope that other countries can follow Tunisia’s example for change. Some are responding proactively to the protests, attempting to appease, rather than quell the unrest.

Nearly one thousand demonstrators rallied outside parliament in Jordan today. Food prices in Jordan have dropped 5% in the 24 hours since Ben Ali fled Tunisia, possibly in response to a government order. Demonstrations in Jordan also brought about the reversal of what had been the ninth increase in fuel prices since 1989.

Syria has announced 12 billion Syrian pounds (US$250 million) for a fund to help the most needy families in Syria.

Around 11.4 percent of the total population of 22 million people, ie around 2.2 million people can not meet their basic needs, according to a report issued by the United Nations Development Programme.

Algeria, rushed through a $225 million package of price cuts last week on types of fuel and goods at government run stores.

Meanwhile, on facebook and in street protests throughout the Arab world, protesters continue to wave the Tunisian flag.

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