(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Jordanian Facebook users on Wednesday started using the image of the popular comic strip character Abu Mahjoob as their profile pictures in response to a call for a nationwide protest against impending price hikes.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Fayez Tarawneh announced that a set of decisions would be implemented soon, which would include austerity measures, subsidy cuts on certain commodities as well as amendments to some laws to increase state revenues, including the Income Tax Law.
He noted that the economic package aims to partially tackle the widening budget deficit, but insisted it would avoid affecting low- and middle-income Jordanians.
The Facebook campaign, dubbed "The citizen's pocket is not the government's petroleum," started on Wednesday with the aim of sending a message to officials that imposing price hikes on citizens is not acceptable, Mohammed Ersan, who initiated the campaign, told The Jordan Times over the phone Wednesday.
The campaign encourages Facebook users to replace their profile pictures with a specially designed image of Abu Mahjoob that depicts people's rejection of the government's upcoming move, Ersan added.
"When Jordanian and Palestinian prisoners were on hunger strike, Facebook users started using photos to depict their solidarity with the prisoners. The idea was successful as a great number of Jordanians responded to the call and changed their photos.
"Therefore, I thought of adopting this idea and using a photo that reflects our feelings towards the government's move. I asked the renowned cartoonist Emad Hajjaj to draw a picture for us to use," Ersan said.
Hajjaj said the photo was designed to resemble the one used to express solidarity with the Jordanian and Palestinian prisoners.
"I used the same colours and gave it a Jordanian touch by using the character of Abu Mahjoob," he told The Jordan Times over the phone Wednesday.
Ersan, who is the editor-in-chief of Radio Al Balad, said that the campaign also allowed Facebook users to post questions regarding the issue on the campaign's page.
"We will send these questions to Jordanian experts who have experience in financial issues," he added.
"There are other solutions officials can implement instead of raising prices. For example, they can impose taxes on some investment sectors," Ersan suggested.
The campaign's organisers do not yet have figures about the number of Facebook users who have joined the initiative, as it is only one day old.
Elham Isleem, who has made the campaign's image her Facebook profile picture, said that when she noticed the success of the idea during the Jordanian and Palestinian prisoners' campaign, she decided to join this effort as well.
"It is a peaceful and civilised act that reflects our rejection of the rising prices," the private sector employee told The Jordan Times.
Hajjaj said that the campaign was a good way to unite people and put pressure on policy makers.
"The Jordanian citizen has endured rising prices and taxes for years. I hope that this campaign will produce tangible results," he said.