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Most Brazil Roads Open as Government Fines Protesting Truckers
November 16, 2015

"A strike by independent truckers waned in Brazil on Wednesday after the government increased fines for blocking roads, with federally operated highways blocked in only four points, down from some 20 on Tuesday, federal highway police said. The protests calling for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff were in five Brazilian states, down from 11 on Tuesday, according to the police. Most of the activity was in the southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul, police said. Brazil’s pork and poultry association warned that roadblocks in the south could affect exports at a critical time, but the protests have not reached top grain-producing state Mato Grosso. Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo said on Tuesday that the government would triple the fines for protesters to 5.6 million reais ($1.5 million) and fine organizers up to 19 million reais for obstructing federal roads. The government also authorized the use of the country’s national security force, a group of elite state police officers deployed during civil emergencies. Brazil’s main trucking unions are not participating. An informal group called the National Transport Command, which has been organizing the strike online, has more than 53,000 Facebook followers. Rousseff’s government said that, without concrete demands from truck drivers, negotiating with the protesters was difficult. The same truckers slowed deliveries to ports for two weeks in February, when they protested over high diesel costs and low payments for drivers."

Source: Reuters