European Truck Drivers Stop Traffic To Protest Fuel Prices

By Tom Mudd Rising fuel prices are causing road chaos across Europe as truck drivers and others ape the tactics that won fuel-tax concessions for French truckers and fishermen. On Sept. 11 British truck drivers began blockading oil refineries and motorways, causing gasoline shortages and bringing traffic to a near standstill. Truckers also took to the streets in Belgium, blocking main arteries in and around Brussels. The moves came after a weekend that saw German truck drivers use similar tactics to protest soaring fuel prices. Truck drivers across Europe are angry at the rise in fuel prices, with many blaming their governments for not reducing the heavy taxes European motorists pay. Prices for diesel are two to three times higher in Europe than they are in the United States. France's prime minister, Lionel Jospin, gave in to truckers' demands for relief last week, but British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Germany's chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, have both said they will not change their governments' policies in the wake of the protests. There are threats of further such blockades in Spain and Ireland. Limited protests have already taken place in Italy.

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