Brazil truckers protest goes on despite order by president

2018-05-28 02:22:47 GMT2018-05-28 10:22:47(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

A truckers protest over diesel prices in Brazil that is hurting supplies of fuel, food and medicines continued for the sixth day on Saturday despite President Michel Temer ordering the military to clear blocked roads the day before.

Major cities have declared a state of emergency as gas stations and airports ran out of fuel, supermarket shelves went bare and hospitals said they were running out of supplies. Public transport and trash collection were reduced or halted across the country and prices for some food items jumped.

The government said there were fewer blockades on major highways across the country on Saturday compared to Friday. However, the main entity representing truckers, ABCAM, said they have not changed their main argument that they will call off protests only when federal taxes over diesel are scrapped.

Later on Saturday, federal forces and police appeared to be gaining an edge on clearing some roads. They were escorting convoys with fuel and other products in some areas in the country, including the airport in the capital Brasilia.

Negotiators for several trucker groups initially agreed on Thursday to suspend the protests as the government promised to subsidize and stabilize diesel prices, which may cost 5 billion reais ($1.4 billion) this year.

But truckers say they want a definitive solution, and that they will end the protest only when a decision to eliminate federal diesel taxes is published in the official gazette. There were no reports of violence, but main roads remained blocked in the morning.

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