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Truck Drivers Protest Fuel Prices

November 20, 2000

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) _ Truck drivers angry at soaring diesel prices blockaded fuel depots in the southern state of Victoria on Monday.

Trucks blocked wharves and all but one of the state’s major fuel terminals in the state capital, Melbourne.

``We are not only doing this for ourselves, it is a campaign for everyone who uses petrol,″ protest organizer Jerry Brown-Sarre said.

``Whether you use it for work, for recreation, for whatever, you are paying too much and this is a chance to let the companies know you are not happy.″

Diesel prices have risen from $1.44 per gallon a year ago to more than $2.12 per gallon.

Brown-Sarre said the blockades would stay in place until the drivers’ demands for cheaper prices or higher payments for carrying loads were met.

Multinational petroleum giant Caltex called police late Sunday to clear the entrance to one of its depots and Anglo-Dutch oil company Shell said it also planned action to ensure fuel could still be distributed.

``We are taking advice and will be taking what action we can to maintain operations,″ Shell spokesman Vincent Cosgrove said.

Victorian motorists’ group, the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria, said the state government should step in to preserve fuel supplies.

``Petrol must flow through, the government should invoke emergency legislation if it can’t solve this politically by Wednesday,″ RACV spokesman David Cumming said.

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