Hundreds of thousands of Jordanians had taken to the streets in opposition to a proposed tax hike in what became the largest protests the country had seen in years. Jordan has remained a bulwark of peace and stability in a region rocked by armed conflict, but international economists claimed that the country still needed to make serious economic reforms. Jordan is heavily reliant on international aid and has a national debt equal to around 95 percent of its gross domestic product.
The International Monetary Fund suggested that Jordan raise its sales tax and abolish bread subsidies, among other measures to increase tax revenue and slash the budget deficit. But these policies, supported by the pro-business prime minister, were exceptionally unpopular with Jordanians. Some said that the tax hike would disproportionately affect the country's working middle class.