Chinese lorry drivers stage protests

Hundreds in latest display of resentment in Shanghai over surging inflation.

    Several men were arrested at the protest on Wednesday when they attempted to overturn a vehicle [Reuters]

    Hundreds of lorry drivers are holding a three-day protest against rising fuel prices and fees at China's busiest port, in the latest display of resentment over surging inflation.

    While there were no reports of arrests or violence during Thursday's protest at Baoshan port in Shanghai, there had been unrest on the first day of strikes.

    The drivers blockaded the dockyard in Shanghai on Wednesday, preventing lorries carrying cargo from entering, and smashing the windows of those belonging to drivers who refused to take part, said a logistics company employee who only shared his surname, Zhang.

    At least eight drivers were arrested when they attempted to overturn a car belonging to the city's traffic control department during that protest, said Xie Qiang, a trucking company owner.

    Zhang said that 500 people were headed to Yangshan, another Shanghai port, to take part in protests there.

    Several hundred people, and about 100 police officers, were involved in the protest on Wednesday, said Xie.

    Government officials had attempted to end the protest by talking to the protesters, but failed.

    The drivers say they are angry about new fees being charged by private warehouse operators as well as rising fuel prices. Both pressures are sharply cutting into their profits, they say.

    The warehouse operators introduced the new charge, for lorries picking up more than one container, in October, said Zhao Feng, a driver. While they were earlier free to pick up extra shipments, they now must pay 50 yuan ($8), he said.

    The drivers are also angry at new fuel surcharges that they have to pay when picking up shipments, he said.

    "Some people who don't have a lot of business cannot make money or will even lose money," he said.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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