By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Independent truck drivers started to block highways across Brazil on Monday, in a strike to demand lower diesel fuel prices and the impeachment of Brazilian President, Dilma Rousseff. According to the country’s Federal Highway Police (PRF) truckers blocked parts of federal highways in eleven states.
By late Monday afternoon, the PRF had counted 42 demonstrations by the truckers along major federal highways. The strike was proposed and planned through social media, on the Internet. Truckers disrupted highway traffic in states such as São Paulo, Santa Catarina, Goias, Parana and Rio Grande do Sul – states which produce the bulk of Brazil’s agriculture. The movement however, is not supported by some of the nation’s largest truckers’ unions.
“We consider it immoral and reject any movement which uses the good faith of independent truckers to promote chaos in the country and pressure the government for the sake of political or private interests that have nothing to do with the problems of the sector,” stated Diumar Bueno, president of the National Confederation of Independent Transporters (CNTA). According to the entity due to the country’s current economic situation its members want to work, not block highways.
For the government the movement does not seek to improve the financial situation of independent truckers but has a political objective of disrupting the government. According to Edinho Silva, Social Communications Secretary, the Rousseff Administration is open to dialogue but there seems to be no concrete demands made by strikers.
“We believe that this strike will affect specific regions of the country and is, unfortunately, a movement which seeks to politically wear down the government. If we had a list of demands, as we did at other times, the government would be open to discussing them (demands,” added Silva.
According to Agencia Brasil, a video published on social media by one of the movement’s leading groups, Comando Nacional do Transporte (National Transport Command) shows a trucks lined up on the side of a highway honking their horns and with the sayings such as “Your Government Has Lost Legitimacy” and “Your Party has led to the Destruction of Brazil” on their windshields.