French Truckers, Farmers Launch Nationwide Blockade Over Fuel Prices

September 5, 2000 - 0:0
PARIS French truck drivers and farmers launched a nationwide campaign of blockades of fuel refineries and depots Monday, in the second wave of strikes over high fuel prices to hit the country within days.
According to an AFP report, protest actions rapidly spread across the country after starting shortly after midnight in the southeast, at two petrol depots in the Bouches-du-Rhone region on the Mediterranean coast.
By midmorning Monday, protesters had sealed off more than 50 depots and refineries, maneuvering trucks and farm-vehicles to prevent fuel-tankers entering or leaving.
The most important oil-facilities in the country were among those hit, including depots at Fos-Sur-Mer near Marseilles, at Donges on the Atlantic coast near La Rochelle, and at Le Havre and Dunkirk on the northern coast.
Only the area around Paris was spared, as the National Federation of Road-Hauliers (FNTR) promised a strike that will be "inevitably long and hard," and the first queues of cars began to appear at petrol stations to beat eventual shortages.
In Alsace, on the German border, protesters blockaded the refinery at Reichstett, and the oil port on the River Rhine at Strasbourg.
Other locations effected were at Bordeaux and Toulouse in the southwest, Caen in Normandy, Brive-la-Gaillarde in the central Correze region, and Lyon in the east.
In many cases, truckers and farmers were joined by private ambulance drivers, who say their businesses are equally jeopardized by the high price at the fuel pumps.
Strikers also blocked access to commercial vehicles at two airports, at Nice on the Mediterranean coast and at Belfort on the border with Germany.
The protest is against the steep rise on world fuel prices, which truck-drivers said has caused an increase in their costs of 40 percent in the last year, and risks putting many of them out of business.