Two lorry drivers have been killed in fuel protests in Spain and Portugal as the hauliers’ strike continues.
BBC / June 11, 2008
The other driver died after reportedly trying to stop a lorry at a barricade near Alcanena, north of the Portuguese capital Lisbon, on Tuesday.
Spaniards are stockpiling fuel and food as hauliers blockade major cities in protest at rising diesel prices.
Regarding the death of the driver in Spain, a Spanish interior ministry spokesman told national radio: “We regret the death of this person and hope it makes everyone realise that no dispute is worth the death of anyone.”
A second day of talks between the government and hauliers’ representatives was suspended after the death was reported.
Another lorry driver is reported to have suffered serious burns as he slept in his vehicle when it caught fire in what is thought to be a strike-related incident, Spanish media said.At least three other lorries were also set alight early on Wednesday where some 300 commercial vehicles were parked in San Isidro, south-east Spain.
Protesting drivers complain that the price of diesel has soared by more than 20% this year, and are calling for the government to enforce a minimum price for haulage, to prevent firms being undercut.
Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has offered hauliers emergency credit and early retirement incentives, but refuses to set minimum tariffs, saying they must accept fair competition.
Lorry drivers across Spain’s borders in France and Portugal have joined the protest.
The hauliers’ action follows the lead of British lorry drivers, and Spanish and French fishermen, many of whom have been on strike because of the soaring price of fuel.
OTHER PROTESTS ACROSS EUROPE
- Belgium: Fishermen clash with police at protest near EU on 4 June
- Bulgaria: 150 lorry drivers form convoy outside Sofia on 28 May
- France: Lorries and taxis block motorway in Paris on 3 May in support of strike by fishermen
- Italy: Fishermen on both coasts begin strike on 30 May
- Portugal: Portuguese fishermen stay in port on 30 May
- Spain: Spanish fleet begins strike on 30 May. Madrid fishermen hand out 20 tonnes of free fish to public
- UK: Truck drivers block London roads on 28 May. Fishermen hold mass protest in capital on 3 June