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Petrol protests block French Guiana's roads

Traffic is blocked for the sixth straight day in the French overseas territory as hauliers and consumers call for a 50-cent cut in petrol prices. Local schools and airports are also affected.

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Protesters calling for lower fuel prices have blocked roads for a sixth day in French Guiana, where shops and petrol stations remained shut despite moves by France to cut fuel costs by 30 centimes a litre.

Consumer groups and truckers have since Monday erected blockades across the overseas departement which belongs to France, paralysing many roads.

Many schools have been closed since the protests began and air traffic has been disrupted. No flights were expected to operate from Rochambeau airport on Saturday.

"It is 50 centimes or nothing. We are ready for a month of blockades if necessary," Jean-Marc Daniel, a member of a union representing truckers, said late on Friday.

Fuel prices have risen progressively in French Guiana since the start of 2007 as a result of a surcharge linked to applying European norms to fuel.

Minister for Overseas Territories Yves Jego said that France, which administers fuel prices in its overseas departments, would lower fuel costs by 30 centimes ($0.388).

French Guiana, which is located in South America, would also lower taxes on fuel allocated to local collectivities by 10 centimes, he said in a statement.
 

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