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Brazilian truckers continue blocking highways and roads

      Brazil  

By KEN DILANIAN
AP Intelligence Writer

SAO PAULO (AP) — Truck drivers demanding lower fuel and toll prices continued blocking highways and roads in five Brazilian states on Friday, causing shortages of gasoline, food and other products.

The Federal Highway Police Department said truckers were blocking highways in the agriculturally rich states of Parana, Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina as well as in the northeastern states of Ceara and Bahia.

The nine day-old protest has affected the delivery of meat, poultry and dairy products in parts of southern Brazil.

Images broadcast by the Globo TV network showed dairy producers, unable to get their products to market, dumping milk on highways.

The truckers continued their protest despite government assurances that fuel prices would not increase for at least six months and that toll prices would be lowered.

The assurances were part of an agreement the government and truck driver unions reached earlier this week.

But according to Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo about half of the more than 2 million truck drivers in Brazil are not unionized.

He said truckers who continue blocking highways will be slapped with fines as high as 10,000 reals ($3,500) an hour.



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