According to police and witnesses, a senior police officer was killed in clashes with demonstrators in the city of Maan in southern Jordan during protests over high fuel prices that spread to several cities across the kingdom. The protests began in Maan and spread to several other cities across the kingdom.
In a statement, the police stated that the officer was shot in the head late on Thursday when he was dealing with "rioting" by a gang of criminals in the city. In the past, the city has had times of civil unrest because the price of fuel went up and subsidies were cut.
According to a further statement from the police department, "We will hit with an iron hand anybody who attempts to harm life and property."
Earlier reports from a police source said that the officer was shot during fighting in the Husseiniya neighborhood of Maan and died from those wounds. According to the source, there were four more wounded police officers.
Witnesses say they saw a long line of armored vehicles coming toward Maan as reinforcements were being sent to the neighborhood where the police officer had been killed.
Witnesses say that there were violent fights between young people and police in many parts of the city as well as in Zarqa, an industrial city northeast of Amman with a lot of people living there.
Tear gas was used by anti-riot police in the Jabal al-Abyad neighborhood of Zarqa, Jordan, to disperse protests that had broken out in Zarqa, which is Jordan's second most populous city.
According to eyewitnesses, hundreds of young people also held a protest in the Tafiyla neighborhood of the capital city. Protesters yelling anti-administration slogans were pursued by police.
According to witnesses, a group of young people set fire to tires and blocked a major highway on their route from the capital to the Dead Sea.
Irbid is the country's third-largest city by population. It is in the north, close to the border with Syria, and has a population of about 200,000 people. There, in numerous neighborhoods of Irbid, young people fought with the police.
The police fired tear gas to disperse stone-throwing youths in other smaller towns in the area that had been involved in the sporadic confrontations that had broken out.
After the US Embassy in Jordan put out a security notice, US government officials are no longer allowed to travel to southern Jordan for business or pleasure.
Tensions have been rising in Maan and many other towns in southern Jordan after truck drivers went on strikes for several days to protest high gas prices.
The government has said that it has already spent more than 700 million dinars ($500 million) to curb increases in the cost of gasoline for this year, but they have agreed to look into the requests of the strikers.
Officials have said that they can't spend more money to subsidize prices because of limits put in place by a program to restructure the economy that is backed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
On Wednesday, stores in Maan and many other towns in Jordan's provinces remained closed in a show of solidarity with requests that the government lowers the price of diesel fuel. Truck drivers hold the government responsible for their rising losses.
Several of the activist strikers have said they want to hold public protests on Friday in the provincial cities. The area around the seat of government in downtown Amman, which is often where demonstrators congregate, has seen an increase in police protection.