Sunday, December 16, 2007

Low turnout for UK fuel protests

Police guard an Essex refinery

The promise of disruption to the UK’s fuel distribution by protesters failed to materialize yesterday. transaction-2007, which coordinated the action, said on their website “This action will be initiated at a refinery or storage depot somewhere near you. Anyone wishing to support action is requested to make your way there at the allotted time.” However, by midday very few protesters had gathered at any of the refineries or distribution centres across Britain. In Essex the turnout was particularly poor with only a lone pensioner arriving at Coryton to air her grievance at the ever rising price of fuel. After an hour she drove to the Esso distribution centre in Purfleet hoping to join fellow protesters. But the retired care assistant found only a gathering of police and journalists. "I've got nothing to do with the haulage industry, I'm just a pensioner who pays £57 to fill up a Peugeot 307,” said June Walker, 61, of Rainham, Essex. Across the rest of the country there were slightly larger displays of anger. In Southampton a total of 25 protesters arrived and at the Texaco refinery in Cardiff 8 people turned out to brave the cold. In many cases the police and media presence outnumbered the protesters, but David Handley, who helped lead a successful fuel-tax protest in 2000, insisted he was not disappointed with the turnout. "If the government don't sit down with us then we will be back after Christmas and it won't be as pleasant as it is now - if you put a rat up a drainpipe and he can't do anything to get out, what's he going to do?" Mr Handley said [BBC].

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