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Protests Around The Globe...

Photo Credit :

price hike of petroleum products in Hyderabad. (PTI)

Oil prices have doubled over the last year and risen 44 per cent this year alone, with US crude surging to a record high $139.12 a barrel on Friday, a troubling rise for energy ministers of the Group of Eight Nations plus China, India and South Korea, who are meeting in northern Japan this weekend.

Since 2004, oil prices have shed their typical $20-$30 a barrel stability to climb steadily, due to factors such as new demand from India and China and supply threats from conflict in the Middle East.

The Group of Eight consists of the United States, Canada, Japan, Russia, Germany, France, Italy and Britain.

Here are some facts on how people around the globe have reacted to rising fuel costs:

* India: Protests and strikes called by India's Opposition parties and the government's own communist allies hit the country for a second day on June 6 after the government raised fuel prices by about 10 per cent, its second increase in two years and the biggest one-off hike since 1996. But the strikes themselves seemed as unpopular as the price increase. The sharpest protests were in West Bengal state, where schools and businesses were closed and flights and trains canceled. Shops were also shuttered and roads emptied in the southern state of Kerala, with protests also reported in the central city of Indore.

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* Belgium: Fishermen, mainly from France and Italy, demonstrated against soaring fuel prices on June 4, and some clashed with policy near the European Union's headquarters. French fishermen say they will go broke unless they can buy diesel at half the market rate.

* Britain: Hundreds of protesting truck drivers blocked London roads on May 28, causing chaos. Almost a week later fishermen's groups massed in the centre of the capital to demand urgent government aid to ease rising fuel costs.

* Bulgaria: More than 150 truck drivers and dozens of bus drivers from across Bulgaria converged in a convoy on the outskirts of the capital Sofia on May 28, saying high fuel prices meant they were operating at a loss.

* Chile: Thousands of Chilean drivers parked their trucks along national highways this week to protest soaring fuel prices and diesel taxes in a tacit rejection of the government's $1 billion dollar cash subsidy on consumer fuel prices. They lifted the strike on June 6.

* Italy: Commercial fishermen went on strike on May 30, closing down the industry on both coasts.

* France: Lorries and taxis blocked a major motorway in Paris and called for low-cost diesel on Tuesday, a few days after a mass fishing boat strike. Fishermen, truckers and farmers have staged numerous protests over the past month to pressure the government into helping them after oil costs doubled in a year.

* Indonesia: Hundreds of Indonesian students and police clashed in May 26 protests sparked by an almost 30 percent fuel price hike. Days before, police detained dozens as 2,000 people marched on Jakarta's presidential palace, and similar rallies took place in Medan, North Sumatra, and Surabaya

* Malaysia: Barely half a dozen people turned out for an opposition-backed protest in the capital Kuala Lumpur on June 6, two days after the government hiked petrol prices by 41 percent and diesel prices by 63 percent, and said it would let rates rise to market levels in coming months.

* Portugal: Portuguese fishermen stayed in port on May 30, as part of a wave of protests in European commerical fisheries.

* Spain: Almost the entire Spanish fleet, by far Europe's biggest, stayed in port on May 30, calling for government action to lower fuel prices. Madrid fishermen handed out 20 tonnes of free fish, calling it worthless because of rock-bottom prices.


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