Fuel Protests: Scotland, Nepal, Hong Kong, and Europe
This blog did not discuss Scotland in much detail but I thought it was an interesting form of protest coordinated in a complex manor. What they did was clog up highways with large trucks traveling at very low speeds to protest the high gas prices. This article also discusses a pan-European movement to protest high gas prices. Apparently 70,000 Spanish haulers also took part in this go-slow clogging the border with France.
Hauliers across Europe are promising a summer of coordinated fuel protests. We will try to monitor those that are taking place and those that are imminent.
If, inside the cabins of the lorries, any of you hauliers happen to have a laptop and pass a stray wireless internet signal... get in touch (not that I'm encouraging Wi-Fi banditry. Only use the free stuff, of course).
Today brings a fuel protest in Scotland: 100 lorries are crawling along the M8 from Glasgow to Edinburgh.
Earlier this morning, five times that number did the same in Hong Kong: 500 minibuses, lorries, garbage trucks and coaches staged go-slows, or "snail protests", in different parts of the city.
(It's obvious, I know, but in the interests of jargon-busting, both these mean driving vehicles in a convoy of hundreds at a speed of around 10mph. Can you think of a better name?)
Hong Kong's politicians recently scrapped wine duties (in February, it recorded a budget surplus and so enacted some generous but targeted tax cuts). Demonstrators want to know why the goverment can scrap duty on booze, but not on fuel.
The Nepalese have also been protesting today: students in Kathmandu have burned tyres and blocked traffic to protest against a hefty increase in fuel prices.
What's interesting here is that "many" of them (according to a Reuters report) are actually quite keen on a fuel price rise because they hope it will mean "smoother supplies".
Yesterday, the story was the emergence of a pan-European coordinated move against higher fuel prices. About 70,000 Spanish hauliers took part in a go-slow.
It started with Spanish lorry drivers blocking motorways at the border with France - the main routes through to Catalonia and the Basque country - causing 12-mile tailbacks around Madrid and Barcelona.
The Spanish blockade prompted the French to follow suit and as many as 200 French hauliers gridlocked Bordeaux. This particular go-slow caused 20-mile tailbacks.
In Lille and Toulouse, farmers on tractors converged on their respective cities.
This afternoon it emerged that hauliers in Seoul, South Korea, plan to strike over ful prices on Monday.
These protests have not come from nowhere - hauliers and pedestrians alike have been demonstrating in different cities around the world for three weeks already. Where next?
Monday: France will see "open-ended action".
End of June, early July: Italian lorry drivers to strike.
July 2: A mass rally in London.
Here's a map of fuel protests that have taken place over the last three weeks. If you click on the blue tab, you'll get a (short) explanation.