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Aussie Fuel Strikes Cool Off While Others in Europe Remain Steady

September 26, 2000

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Australian truckers angered over skyrocketing fuel prices called off a blockade of fuel terminals in the eastern state of Victoria today after the state premier promised to raise their demands at a conference of state leaders. Protests in Germany and elsewhere, however, continued.

According to the Agence France Presse, oil giant Caltex applied for a court injunction to end the blockade in Australia, which the drivers' union threatened to impose nationally, because it had begun to disrupt fuel supplies.
The Transport Workers Union said it had intervened in the dispute and brokered a deal with Victoria premier Steve Bracks to raise the issue at an upcoming conference of national and state leaders.
The Australian Institute of Petroleum warned that some gas stations in Melbourne had already run dry and that rationing could be necessary by late Wednesday if the blockade was not called off.
Meanwhile, at least 2,000 truckers from across Germany congested the streets around the center of Berlin today, demanding relief from higher fuel prices as well.
According to Associated Press reports, the German government showed no indications that they were going to give any tax relief, but did offer one concession when Transport Minister Reinhard Klimmt announced loans to middle-sized trucking companies running into cash shortages.
However, the demonstrators, along with the truckers’ association, rejected the new loan offer, reported AP.
Today’s protest is the biggest so far in Germany, following demonstrations that slowed down traffic in France, Britain and Spain before easing up in recent days. Elsewhere today, minor blockages continued in Spain, where markets ran out of fish, and Greek motorists lined up at gas stations for a second day fearing shortages due to trucker strikes.

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