Clashes erupt in Shanghai as truck drivers strike near port

Thu Apr 21, 2011 11:14am GMT
 

By Royston Chan and Carlos Barria

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - A two-day strike over rising fuel prices turned violent in Shanghai on Thursday as thousands of truck drivers clashed with police, drivers said, in the latest example of simmering discontent over inflation.

About 2,000 truck drivers battled baton-wielding police at an intersection near Waigaoqiao port, Shanghai's biggest, two drivers who were at the protest told Reuters.

The drivers, who blocked roads with their trucks, had stopped work on Wednesday demanding the government do something about rising fuel costs, workers said.

"I want the government to stand up to solve our problems because we cannot take this anymore. We are unable to bear the cost of operating now," said a driver surnamed Chen, 33, a native of Henan province who has been driving for eight years.

The strike comes against a backdrop of rising consumer prices and fuel price increases. China's inflation rate hit 5.4 percent in March, prompting officials to renew vows to use all available means to contain price rises.

Police arrested at least six people and beat up some protesters with batons, said Chen and another driver also surnamed Chen, 35. They declined to give their full names or the name of their company for fear of reprisals.

Both drivers, who work for a small transport company, showed photographs to two Reuters reporters of police carrying a man with a bloodied head, with his wife and daughter at his side.

Repeated calls to the Shanghai public security bureau and the municipal government went unanswered.   Continued...

<p>People walk along an unfinished road being used by truck drivers to park their container trucks near a port in Shanghai April 21, 2011, following a protest nearby the area earlier in the morning. Truck drivers were planning a second REUTERS/Carlos Barria</p>
 
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