Jordan’s King Abdullah II has cancelled a visit to Britain he was due to make next week, the British foreign ministry confirmed today, amid unprecedented protests by Jordanians calling for him to quit.

Thousands of demonstrators, angered by spiralling fuel costs, gathered in Jordan’s capital Amman on Friday shouting anti-Abdullah slogans.

Publicly insulting the king or calling for his removal from power is rare in Jordan because it is illegal and can result in jail.

The unrest erupted last evening after the announcement of a 53 per cent increase in the price of household gas and a 12 per cent rise in petrol.

The king had been expected to meet with British Prime Minister David Cameron next week to discuss Abu Qatada, the terror suspect released on bail in Britain on Tuesday after judges ruled that he should not be extradited to Jordan.

Britain has kept the preacher in custody for most of the last 10 years and has repeatedly tried to send him to Jordan, where was convicted in absentia in 1998 for involvement in terror attacks.

But British judges accepted his argument that evidence obtained by torture might be used against him in a retrial.

(This article was published on November 17, 2012)
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