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'Skyrocketing' oil prices fuel angry protests

  • Story Highlights
  • Hundreds of angry truck drivers join a protest over fuel prices in central London
  • The drivers want British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to help
  • Organizer says rising prices are threatening the UK road transport industry
  • Fuel taxes make up 63 percent of the cost of fuel in the UK, organizer says
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Hundreds of truck drivers parked their rigs on roadways in London and in other cities across Britain on Tuesday to protest a more than 30 percent increase in the price of diesel fuel in the past year.

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A similar protest was staged last month in central London as truckers used a coffin to signal demise of their industry.

Around 600 and 1,000 trucks from a range of companies took part in the protest said Peter Carroll, a trucking company owner and protest organizer.

"The price of fuel in the UK has not just gone up -- it has skyrocketed," said Carroll, owner of Seymour Transport. "It's now so high that it's now threatening the UK road transport industry."

Diesel now costs on average £1.28 ($2.52) a liter in the UK. That would make it nearly $11.50 a gallon (4.54 liters) compared to the U.S. price of $3.93.

The drivers plan to ask British Prime Minister Gordon Brown for help.

The protesters drove on the A40, a major thoroughfare leading into west London, and parked on the west side of the city before continuing on foot to Marble Arch in central London, Carroll said.

Carroll said police had cordoned off a section of the A40 for the trucks so as not to block traffic, but the move still created traffic headaches.

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After a rally at Marble Arch, some of the protesters march about two miles to the prime minister's residence at Downing Street to hand him a letter, Carroll said.

The letter requests some relief from fuel taxes, which make up 63 percent of the cost of fuel in the United Kingdom, and asks for a meeting with the prime minister himself, Carroll said.

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"I think the fuel crisis in the UK has touched a common nerve," he said. "Everyone is talking about it, so I don't think he'll turn a deaf ear to it this time."

The demonstration scheduled for London was the largest of several planned across Britain on Tuesday, Carroll said. Other protests were planned for Edinburgh, Scotland and Cardiff, Wales.

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