Jordanian protesters wave national flags and shout slogans during an anti-austerity rally, on June 6, 2018, in front of the Labor Union offices in Amman. – Jordanian unions staged a nationwide strike today over IMF-backed austerity measures including a proposed income tax law that has sparked a week of angry demonstrations. (Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP/ Getty) The Jordanian Professional Associations Council called on Sunday for political and economic reform in the country to face internal and external challenges through a national conference, criticising the authorities oppressive methods carried out against protesters who rejected the recent cabinet reshuffle. This came in a statement by President of the Council and chairman head of Jordanian Engineers Association, Ahmed Al-Zoubi, reported Anadolu Agency . During the month of Ramadan last year, Professional Associations Council (consisting of 13 trade unions) led widespread popular protests in the country that resulted in the dismissal of former Prime Minister Hani Mulki and appointing Omar Razzaz, as his successor, to form a new government. Read: Jordanians demand reforms after third government reshuffle The Council’s members said: “it is urgent today, at a national level, to try hard to stop the collapse and dismantling of the state institutions and to take urgent measures that lay a solid ground for social protection that consecrates social justice in its full dimensions. Namely justice and equal opportunity in addition to countering the Deal of the Century, its implications and its instruments”. The Council considered that the recent cabinet reshuffle “which resembles previous legal and constitutional errors, was introduced by a rough approach to handling popular protests manifested in a campaign of arbitrary arrests that included several political activists.” The Council’s members demanded the immediate release of all prisoners of conscience and peaceful protesters, as well as the blockage of what they described as “persistent violations of public freedoms and citizens’ rights which are guaranteed constitutionally and legally”. Last Thursday, hours after the cabinet reshuffle, a demonstration was held near the government headquarters in Amman demanding real reform and a change in approach, during which arrests took place.