World Bulletin / News Desk
Truck drivers across Brazil blocked major arterial roads Monday, causing congestion and delays to freight deliveries in a ongoing protest about recent hikes in fuel and tolls prices.
Local media said state and federal highways in seven of the country's states were affected, Paraná, Santa Catarina, Rio Grande do Sul, Minas Gerais, Goiás, Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul -- effectively encircling São Paulo state, home to Brazil's biggest city and a key container port.
Drivers are demanding fuel and toll prices be reduced, and that a uniform pricing system be introduced for freight based on the distance deliveries are transported.
As part of their list of demands, drivers are also urging the government to improve the country's roads, according to transport groups.
The main thrust of the protests began Feb. 18 in the south of Brazil, although some have been ongoing since Feb. 13 and have since gained momentum with disgruntled truck drivers from other states showing their solidarity.
The road blocks have delayed deliveries of commodities, including soybean and corn, which are vital to the country's economy, in a bid to ratchet up the pressure on the government.
The truckers are attempting to reduce the effect on motorists and public transport by allowing them to pass.
Brazil's National Confederation of Autonomous, the CNTA, told GloboNews it had "called for a meeting with the (relevant) ministries to deal with the grievances, particularly the increase in fuel prices."
One protest leader told the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper he hoped the protests would spread to even more states.
"The cargo transport sector is weathering a historic crisis, with truckers barely managing to make a (financial) return," Tobias Brombilla, the Rodeio Bonito Truck Drivers' Association, from Rio Grande do Sul state, said.
A $0.05 (0.15 real) per liter increase in the tax on diesel fuel was introduced Feb. 1, with another tax on fuels set to be raised at the beginning of May.
The increase to fuel was one of several tax hikes announced by the government in January, also targeting personal credit and a range of imports, to bolster revenues.
Last Mod: 24 Şubat 2015, 10:34