Standstill Britain: Refineries

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The Independent Online

Protesters continued to blockade oil refineries and supply depots across the country yesterday, ensuring the critical petrol shortage would last.

Protesters continued to blockade oil refineries and supply depots across the country yesterday, ensuring the critical petrol shortage would last.

In Suffolk, lorry and tractor drivers were persisting with their blockade of a fuel warehouse in Ipswich. In neighbouring Norfolk, the police persuaded protesters at Wymondham and King's Lynn to end their blockade and move their vehicles from outside the fuel depots. Instead, the lorry drivers set up a picket line, which some tanker drivers refused to cross.

Protesters were camping outside the Woodford oil depot in Stockport, near Manchester.

In Scotland, the First Minister, Donald Dewar, speaking after a crisis meeting of ministers in Edinburgh, called on truckers to lift their blockades, warning that there was a "real danger" of innocent people being hurt by their action. But his comments fell on deaf ears - hauliers kept their blockade at the BP refinery at Grangemouth, from where only acute deliveries have been made.

Earlier in the day, a four-mile convoy of 300 lorry drivers brought Edinburgh to a standstill. One hundred and thirty vehicles blockaded Perth for two hours. Lorry drivers also caused hundreds of petrol stations across the Midlands to run dry by stepping up their picketing of fuel terminals.

At the Kingsbury fuel depot in Staffordshire, about 20 lorries and tractors maintained their peaceful blockade, halting deliveries for BP, Shell, Texaco, Elf and Fina.

Demonstrators also brought fuel trucks to a standstill at North Tees, near Middlesbrough. The campaigners kept a vigil at the plant to stop the movement of container wagons.

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