Fuel price rise sparks domestic protest in South Korea and Spain
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  • The latest casualties of domestic unrest over increasing fuel prices were Spain and South Korea. Thousands of Spanish truck-drivers went on strike to protest high fuel prices causing stoppages in the nation’s supply lines to supermarkets, gas stations and even small cafeterias. The truckers were asking for government regulations guaranteeing a minimum price for their services, above fuel costs, while the government was only willing to offer a package of measures including lower social security contributions and 55 million euros in subsidies to older truckers who choose to abandon the industry1.

    Truckers in South Korea also protested against the rising fuel prices in a strike that threatened to paralyze the country’s ports and challenge the already unpopular government of President Lee Myung-bak. They blocked entrances to ports and cargo terminals in South Korea, and were also demanding that the government increase subsidies, authorize higher freight charges and introduce a minimum wage. The government on its part retaliated by announcing that it would immediately revoke the striking truckers’ annual fuel subsidy payments (about $14,500 to each trucker), a move analysts believed would further fuel the stand off2.