Fuel protests spread around the world
UPDATE: 2:44PM EST
A fuel strike in the UK will go ahead tomorrow.
Last-ditch talks aimed at averting a strike by hundreds of fuel tanker drivers have broken down, the Unite union has said.
The strike over pay will start at 0600 BST on Friday and continue until 0600 the following Tuesday.
The industrial action involves drivers working for two companies with contracts to deliver fuel to Shell's 1000 UK forecourts.
The oil giant has said some petrol stations will run out fuel.
Fuel prices are affecting everyone around the world. If someone is struggling to pay for gas in North America, you can bet they're also struggling to pay for gas in India and across Europe.
Protests against the rising costs of fuel are also spreading around the world, as anger and monetary worries mount.
As oil hit a record $139 a barrel, large and small businesses that depend on gasoline and diesel said they can no longer cope with pump prices that have doubled or tripled, with the steepest increases coming in recent months.
Several hundred trucks and buses were used in a go-slow protest in Hong Kong, snarling traffic in that major Asian economic center. Drivers were demanding reductions in fuel taxes.
Tens of thousands of Spanish drivers did go-slow protests on major roads, knotting traffic near cities such as Madrid and Barcelona as Portuguese drivers have joined. France was also one of the countries where protests over the impact of record oil prices happened.
Two protesters were killed Tuesday, one in Spain and one in Portugal, as they attempted to block traffic. One of the striking truck drivers was killed near a Grenada market in southern Spain and the other, a picket, died as he tried to stop a truck on a road north of the Lisbon, in Portugal.
The protests in India and Nepal were smaller and more isolated, but also reflected the spreading anger over prices. India increased petrol and diesel prices last week by around 10 percent after the cost of fuel subsidies brought state oil companies close to bankruptcy.
Malaysia has tightened its security ahead of upcoming fuel protests.
Malaysian policeincreased security in the capital to stop a planned oppositionrally against sharp fuel price rises, state media said onThursday, reflecting fears about protests gathering momentum.
Protests have been limited so far but the opposition hopesto draw 20,000 people onto the streets after Muslim prayers onFriday as public anger mounts over the price rises and thegovernment's modest attempts to soften the impact.
Spain is also gearing up for expected protests from striking truckers.
Spain promised "zero tolerance" for violence by striking truckers after a string of incidents including an arson attack on a strike-breaking truck that left the driver with burns to 25 percent of his body.
"The government is going to have zero tolerance for any act of intimidation or violence," Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said.
The government said it had arrested 71 picketers for offences including intimidating non-striking drivers since the stoppage by 75,000 truckers began on Sunday night to call for government help to cope with high fuel prices.
The British government is also starting to realize that they need to take urgent action before the fuel protests get any worse.
Scotland’s farmers, fishermen and road hauliers will meet tomorrow to discuss the fuel crisis – and possible further action to highlight the problems they are facing.
The historic meeting will for the first time put the leaders of NFU Scotland, the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation and the Road Haulage Association in the same room.
The announcement came the same day as protesters from haulage firms descended on the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh to urge Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson to put pressure on the UK Government to reduce duty.
NFU communications director Bob Carruth said tomorrow’s gathering in the capital would discuss the problems the various sectors were facing because of escalating fuel prices.
Mr Carruth said another key part of the meeting would be to review the discussions that all three groups have had in recent meetings with the UK Government to discuss fuel issues. He added: “There is no formal agenda set and it will be a case of all sitting down and getting to know each others’ problems.”