[EUROPE] Spain 'not to tolerate fuel violence'. Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero

[EUROPE] Spain 'not to tolerate fuel violence'  . Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero
Spain's Prime Minister has promised 'zero tolerance' if striking truck drivers continue their disruptions which have affected the economy.

"The government is going to have zero tolerance for any act of intimidation or violence," Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero was quoted as saying by news agencies.

Spanish police have arrested 71 truck drivers since the strike began Monday in protest over rising fuel prices. Reports say one driver was badly burnt when his lorry was set on fire after he tried to break the picket lines. Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's government has reportedly reached an agreement with the majority of Spanish drivers.

Spanish authorities in their talks with unions representing 88 percent of Spain's truck drivers have agreed to envisage tax relief and emergency credit among other concessions demanded by the drivers.

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has urged the remaining strikers not represented by the unions to “join in the task of acting responsibly” and has promised tough action if their continued protests turn violent.

More than 6,000 trucks have been given escorts to deliver food, fuel and other supplies to markets and distribution centers, the Spanish interior ministry said.

In Portugal, lorry drivers agreed to lift their road blocks after their own unions reached a deal with the government over assistance with rising fuel prices. The government granted the strikers tax relief and reduced motorway tolls for lorry drivers. The strike in Spain comes as the economy there was already reeling from the global credit crunch and the collapse of a housing boom.

Economic growth in the country fell to 0.3 percent in the first quarter from 0.8 percent during the last three months of 2007, while inflation hit 4.6 percent in May.

Source: PressTV

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