Europe: Strikes Over Fuel Prices Spreading : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Nando Times

Strikes over fuel prices spreading across Europe

By the Associated Press

MADRID, Spain (October 4, 2000 8:14 p.m. EDT - Truck drivers continued their protests over high fuel prices Wednesday, blocking roads and clogging traffic in parts of several European countries.

Europe has seen a slew of protests in recent weeks as oil prices have risen above $30 per barrel, with truckers, farmers and fishermen complaining that high fuel taxes are squeezing them out of business.

While the wave of demonstrations that brought chaos to France, Britain and other northern European countries last month have died down, the protest movement has spread to other parts of the continent.

In Sicily on Wednesday, supermarket shelves stood bare of fresh food and a Fiat factory was forced to shut for lack of parts as a three-day-old protest by truckers grounded much of the southern Italian island.

Lack of fuel forced most gas stations to close and public transportation to cut services.

Truckers have blocked main roads and ports there since Monday and threaten to keep up their protest for the whole week.

In Spain, truckers agreed Wednesday to end a three-day strike, which has clogged borders with France and Portugal. The drivers accepted a haulage fee increase and other concessions, a government spokeswoman said.

Earlier, some 2,300 trucks blocked the Spanish-French border at La Junquera for a third day while others closed the border at Irun in the Basque country as well as crossings to Portugal.

In Romania, a convoy of about 100 horn-blaring vehicles clogged traffic in the capital, Bucharest. The protesters - driving trucks, taxis, buses and other vehicles - demanded a reduction in taxes to soften the rise in gasoline prices.

The protests have spread despite the wide range in fuel prices across Europe.

In Greece, which has the lowest fuel prices in the European Union, striking fishermen blocked several ports, including Athens' main port of Piraeus, on Wednesday.

Across the continent, it is the issue of government fuel tax that has raised the protesters' ire.

In Copenhagen, 55 Danish trucks briefly circled the downtown parliament building Wednesday as they called on politicians to cut fuel taxes.

But Denmark's tax chief said lowering fuel taxes would be "unwise."

"We would like to give a helping hand to truckers, but we will not lower the taxes," said Ole Stavad.

"If we do it, if other countries do it, it would be an invitation to the oil sheiks that they can demand more" money for a barrel of oil, he added.

-- Rachel Gibson (, October 04, 2000


While the demonstrations in Spain have been spasmodic, and small, in comparison to Britain and France, their problem just seem to--like the Energizer Bunny--go on and on.

-- Uncle Fred (, October 05, 2000.

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