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Fatalities reported in European trucker protests

MADRID, Spain -- Deaths have been reported as a result of trucker strikes in Europe and Spain's car industry has gr...

MADRID, Spain — Deaths have been reported as a result of trucker strikes in Europe and Spain’s car industry has ground to a halt, thanks to those same protests, news agencies report.

All 18 of Spain’s car factories are expected to suspend production as of Thursday. The Spanish car makers association, ANFAC, announced that all 18 car factories in Spain, which produce 13,000 vehicles a day, and account for about 5% of Spain’s GDP, would be off line because of a lack of parts and fuel.

In recent days, truckers across Spain have also blocked deliveries of fuel and food, sparking a rush by consumers to stockpile commodities, and have jammed up motorways, causing travel chaos for millions. The dispute has become increasingly violent and one protestor was killed on Tuesday.

Some parts of Spain were already suffering fuel shortages after protesters picketed fuel depots, and many market stall holders – particularly traders in fruit, vegetables and fish – say they only have supplies for another day or two.

One truck driver sleeping at a picket line near the southeastern city of Alicante, suffered severe burns when his cab caught fire in what police suspect was arson. The fire which started at 4 a.m. completely destroyed the unnamed man’s vehicle and three other trucks.

On Tuesday, one striking truck driver was run over by a van and killed near a Granada market in southern Spain. While in Portugal, a striker died as he tried to stop a truck on a road north of the capital Lisbon.

There have also been protests in France over the impact of record oil prices, now at a high of more than $139 per barrel. Diesel has risen to 1.30 Euros ($2.01) a litre from 0.95 Euros a year ago, pressuring European Union governments to help heavy fuel users, such as truck and taxi drivers, fishermen and farmers.

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