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Fuel Protests across Europe

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Published on Jun 7, 2008

CHEN:
Protests over rising fuel prices were held across Europe yesterday. Lorry drivers in France blocked a Paris motorway, bikers staged a go-slow protest near Manchester in the UK, while taxi drivers protested in Madrid. Drivers across Europe are fed up with skyrocketing fuel costs.

STORY:
Dozens of lorries block a motorway leading into Paris in protest against high fuel prices. Truckers in France want low-cost diesel reserved for professional users. They argue that they negotiate fuel costs with clients at the start of every year and should be allowed to lock in that price for a full 12 months.

And the head of the European Transport Association said that there were fuel price discrepancies across Europe.

[Gilles Mathelie-Guinlet, European Road Transport Organization]:
"France is 30% over the European average, and we work 20% less than our European competitors, so if you put the two together, it means that French haulage contractors are more expensive than the European price which means that we can't live off our job any more."

Truckers, fishermen and farmers in France have staged numerous protests over the past month to try to pressure the government to intervene after oil costs doubled in a year.

But room for maneuver is limited by the European Union which is opposed to targeted state subsidies or cuts in fuel tax. The protests have spread to other European countries including Italy, Belgium and Portugal.

In England hundreds of bikers staged a go-slow protest near Manchester against the high cost of fuel following a similar protest by truck drivers in London last month.

And in the Spanish capital Madrid, taxi drivers organized a protest against the spiraling costs at the pumps.

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