Truckers join fishermen as anti-fuel protests begin across Europe
By Ciaran Giles / June 9, 2008
MADRID, Spain (AP) – Gas stations in Madrid and the northeastern Catalonia region began running out of fuel Monday as an indefinite strike by truckers began to bite. The protest over soaring fuel costs began at midnight Sunday.
Antonio Onieva, president of Madrid’s station owners organization, told reporters that by 5:30 p.m., 15 percent of the capital’s outlets had run out of fuel. Manuel Amado, president of Catalonia’s owners’ federation, said 40 percent of Catalonia’s 1,714 stations had sold out.
The stoppage led to lengthy lines at many gasoline stations across the country as drivers rushed to fill up.
Drivers were paying the equivalent of about $7.32 per gallon of diesel Monday. By contrast, diesel was selling in the U.S. for about $4.75.
Truckers also blocked a number of roads around the country, including some leading into the center of Barcelona and the international border with France.
“We are the ones who move the goods that this country needs to keep working. If we stop because we haven’t got the money to buy fuel then the country will stop,” Julio Villascusa, president of the transport association Fenadismer, told Cadena SER radio.
Fenadismer representatives and Development Ministry officials met Monday but failed to reach agreement, stretching the strike to a second day.
Fenadismer said more than 90,000 drivers have been called to take part in the strike.
The strike was not expected to have a major effect on city food markets until later in the week. There was almost no movement of trucks early Monday at Mercamadrid, the main wholesale food market for the Spanish capital. Development Ministry transport chief Juan Miguel Sanchez said the government will guarantee market supplies. Fenadismer representatives and Development Ministry officials met Monday but failed to reach agreement, stretching the strike to a second day.
A strike by fishermen across Spain also protesting fuel costs has entered a second week. News reports said smaller boats that fish closer to the coast had now joined the protest, which began May 30.
The stoppages are part of Europe-wide protests against rising prices. [
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