Published: 2020-07-27 14:45
Last Updated: 2020-07-27 18:57
Opposition union leaders were detained to prevent protest action that would have crippled essential public services, government officials said Sunday, as Jordan battles the economic fallout caused by the coronavirus crisis.
Union leader, Nasser Nawasreh, was among the 13 members of the Jordan Teachers’ Syndicate detained by the Public Security Directorate (PSD) on Saturday, on charges of corruption, incitement and other criminal activities.
“The teachers’ union was threatening again to stage protests, sit-ins and strikes that harm the state’s essential services and their functioning,” said Amjad al-Adaileh, the Minister of State for Media Affairs during a press conference.
Following a month-long teacher strike last Autumn, the government had agreed to a 50% increase of teachers’ salaries.
With the coronavirus pandemic wreaking having on the Kingdom’s economy, the authorities have postponed all public sector pay rises, leading to accusations by the syndicate that the government has failed to honour the agreement.
The PSD positioned police officers in front of the government buildings where protests are planned to take place this week.
During his weekly speech on Sunday, Prime Minister Omar Razzaz said Jordan will not tolerate law breakers no matter what “group, political party or union that sought to confiscate the rights of others”.
Some protestors have demanded Razzaz’s resignation.
The union has dismissed claims by some officials that it embraces the Islamist opposition’s political agenda as an attempt to damage its reputation.
Rights activists have accused the Jordanian government of using the fight against the coronavirus crisis as an excuse to limit citizen’s rights. Many have been arrested for social media posts.