Archive for Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Fuel protests hit Asia, Europe

June 11, 2008

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— Protests over soaring fuel prices erupted in Asia on Tuesday as truckers in Hong Kong and tire-burning demonstrators in India and Nepal added their angry voices to protests that began last month in Europe.

Two protesters were killed Tuesday, one in Spain and one in Portugal, as they attempted to block traffic, according to news reports. They appeared to be the first two fatalities of strikes that began in those countries last month.

Truckers in South Korea voted to strike, and Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi pledged about $306 million in supplemental funding to maintain support among provincial lawmakers angry over the fuel costs.

Several hundred trucks and buses were used in a go-slow protest in Hong Kong, snarling traffic. Drivers were demanding reductions in fuel taxes.

Fuel taxes are also the central issue for truckers in Europe, because they account for a large portion of the retail price of fuel. Unleaded gasoline sold for $8.65 per gallon and diesel for $9.62 per gallon Tuesday in Britain, which charges a flat $3.77 per gallon in fuel duty, and imposes a 17.5 percent consumption tax on the total price.

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