Spanish lorry drivers start fuel protest

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The Independent Online

Tens of thousands of Spanish lorry drivers began an indefinite fuel price protest strike today that could bring the country to a standstill.

It immediately led to lengthy queues at many service stations across the country by drivers worried they would be left without petrol.

The stoppage and protests by pickets led to traffic jams several miles long at the main border crossings with France.

Hundreds of lorry drivers staged "snail protests" holding up traffic on ring roads around Madrid and Barcelona.

"We are the ones who move the goods that this country needs to keep working. If we stop because we haven't got the money to buy fuel then the country will stop," Julio Villascusa, president of the transport association federation Fenadismer, said.

Fenadismer said more than 90,000 drivers have been called to take part in the strike.

The strike was not expected to have a major effect on food deliveries until later in the week. But there was almost no movement of trucks today at Mercamadrid, the main wholesale food market for Madrid.

Development Minister transport chief Juan Miguel Sanchez said the government will guarantee market supplies.

The transport strike comes as fishermen's strike across Spain protesting fuel costs entered a second week.