Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Truckers block highways to protest insecurity, tolls and fuel prices

Truckers and other professional drivers blocked highways across Mexico on Tuesday to protest against insecurity and high toll costs and fuel prices.

There were blockades and marches in at least 20 of 30 states where protests were slated to be held, the newspaper Reforma reported.

Among the states where roads were at least partially blocked were Aguascalientes, Veracruz, Quintana Roo, Querétaro, Puebla, Jalisco, Chiapas, México state, Guerrero and Guanajuato.

Truckers in Guerrero protesting on the Mexico City-Acapulco highway denounced extortion by police and called for greater surveillance of highways by the National Guard, Reforma said.

A sign affixed to a bus in Querétaro read, “No more murders, no more robberies of vehicles on federal highways,” while one displayed on a truck in Veracruz said “no more abuses by the state police.”

Some motorists complained about delays on social media. In a tweet directed at several authorities, one motorist complained of being stuck on the Querétaro-Mexico City highway for six hours due to a blockade. “We need to move, there are families here,” he wrote.

Members of the truckers’ organization Amotac also protested outside the lower house of federal Congress in Mexico City.

Additional protests are scheduled for Wednesday in Mexico City’s central square and outside the Senate, Chamber of Deputies and Ministry of Communications and Transportation buildings.

“We’ll protest due to insecurity, which has been on the rise. Trucks are being stolen … in various states,” Amotac vice president Carlos García told Reforma.

He said it was difficult for truckers to recover financially if their vehicles are stolen or damaged by criminal groups.

“The presence of security [forces] on highways leaves a lot to be desired,” García said, adding that increases in toll costs are also affecting the financial viability of truckers and trucking companies.

Truckers also complained of rising fuel costs, although the war between Russia and Ukraine, among other factors, hasn’t pushed prices up here as much as it has in some other countries.

In a statement, Amotac put a number of requests to authorities, among which were the provision of greater security on highways; a reduction of toll costs; a reduction in the price of fuel; an embargo on new taxes on the transport industry; and a ban on double articulated vehicles, which the group said are responsible for accidents that have resulted in thousands of deaths.

With reports from Reforma 

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