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Teachers arrested in Jordan after anti-government protest

Security forces block a road as part of their security measures as Jordanian teachers gather near government headquarters, during a protest for better pay in Amman, Jordan on September 05, 2019 [Laith Joneidi / Anadolu Agency]
Security forces block a road as part of their security measures as Jordanian teachers gather near government headquarters, during a protest for better pay in Amman, Jordan on 5 September 2019 [Laith Joneidi / Anadolu Agency]

The authorities in Jordan have detained and interrogated 13 members of the Teachers’ Union and closed its offices for two years, official sources reported on Saturday. The move, said Arab48.com, was made three days after a protest against the government decision to postpone a salary increase for teachers agreed last year.

According to the official Jordanian news agency, Petra, Amman Public Prosecutor Hassan Abdallat arrested the 13 teachers for “crimes” related to financial violations and incitement. Following their interrogation, Abdallat said, each one of them will be sent to the Rehabilitation and Reformation Centre for one week. He added that investigations are ongoing.

The salary increase was agreed after a one-month strike last year. Due to the economic crisis related to the coronavirus pandemic, the government decided on 16 April to postpone payment of the rise until the start of next year.

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The union rejected this and organised a protest in the south of Amman. Union leader Nasser Nawasrah stressed that the terms of the agreement, including the salary increase, “must be implemented completely.”

The Public Prosecutor imposed a gagging order on details related to the crackdown on the Teachers’ Union. Only the official news outlets are allowed to report about it.

Education Minister Tayseer Al-Naimi pointed out that the teachers’ salary increase was suspended just like increases were for other government employees. It will be paid from January, he insisted. A local judge will appoint a management council for the union within the next two days, he added.

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