Truck drivers protest in 15 states; Highway Police acts to release flow

Truck drivers have been carrying out stoppages on roads in at least 15 states since the end of the afternoon of Wednesday, 8th. They are: Santa Catarina, Rio Grande do Sul, Paraná, Espírito Santo, Mato Grosso, Goiás, Bahia, Minas Gerais, Tocantins, Rio de Janeiro, Rondônia. Maranhão, Roraima, São Paulo and Pará.

In a statement released in the early hours of Thursday, 9th, the Ministry of Infrastructure stated that total blocking points in Rio de Grande do Sul and São Paulo were released by the Federal Highway Police (PRF), in addition to retention sections in the north of Santa Catarina. According to the agency, agents are still working at interdiction points in Minas Gerais.

In a previous bulletin, at 5:30 pm, the ministry stated that the PRF was negotiating to release the flow on the highways until midnight. In the statement released at 8:40 pm, however, there was no longer this forecast. “Agents are at the identified locations and have started the clearance procedure with the orientation to release anyone who wants to continue their journey”, stated the second bulletin. At 10:30 pm, the PRF reported that there were concentration points on highways in 16 states. The number was reduced to 15 in the last report, at 12:30 am.

Also read: Bolsonaro asks for road clearance by truck drivers

The blockades began during the 7 September demonstrations called by President Jair Bolsonaro and continued throughout the day.

“In all, 117 incidents with a concentration of people and attempts to block total or partial highways during the last few hours have already been dealt with,” said the ministry. “The dissemination of videos and photos through social networks does not necessarily reflect the current state of the road network.”

In a bulletin, the ministry highlighted that the composition of the mobilizations is heterogeneous, “not limited to demands related to the category” and even stated that there is no forecast that the road blocks affect the supply of products in the country. In the last report, however , when announcing the release of the stretches in the northern region of Santa Catarina, said that the mobilization at the site “has threatened” the supply conditions.

The concentrations are already worrying fuel distributors, who fear shortages of products such as gasoline and diesel oil. The most critical situation is in the states of Santa Catarina and Mato Grosso.

At 5:30 pm, the ministry informed that concentration points were registered on federal highways approaching cargo vehicles in the following states: Bahia, Espírito Santo, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Santa Catarina, Paraná, Maranhão and Rio Grande do Sul. In the 0:30 am bulletin, there was no detailing of the States.

According to the São Paulo State Highway Police, there was a stoppage of truck drivers on the Anhanguera Highway, at km 188. The Department of Highways of the State of São Paulo (DER) reports that there was a demonstration by truck drivers in Angatuba, on SP-270 (km 204).

This Thursday morning, in Rio de Janeiro, there are three points with registered protests: Campos dos Goytacazes (km 75 of BR 101, towards Rio); Itaboraí (km 1 of BR 493, in both directions); and in the state capital (km 113 of the BR 040), according to the PRF, which is present at these points. At the locations, the Federal Highway Police is carrying out negotiations to clear the roads. At these points, traffic is flowing even with the interdiction, informs the PRF.

In Roraima, at least 20 trucks parked at kilometer 482 of the BR-174, in Boa Vista, in a protest against the increase in fuel prices, especially diesel, and in favor of the Bolsonaro government. The action is part of the truck drivers’ mobilization package after September 7th and started around 17:00 local time.

The federal highway is the only access road in the state of Roraima to Manaus (AM), and it is used to ship food, fuel and other goods, cheaper and by land. The Federal Highway Police sent a team to the scene.

One of the leaders of the movement entitled Truckers Patriotas, Francisco Burgardt, known as Chicão Caminhoneiro, said he will deliver a document to the president of the Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco (DEM-MG), asking for the removal of STF ministers. “The Brazilian people can no longer stand this moment that the country is going through through the imposing form that the STF has been positioning itself. The Brazilian people are here (on the Esplanada dos Ministérios) looking for a solution and we are only going to leave here with a solution in hand”, said Chicão, who presides over the Brazilian Union of Truck Drivers (UBC), in a video that circulates on social networks.

According to him, the document will also be delivered to President Jair Bolsonaro. In another video, Burgardt speaks of a 24-hour deadline for authorities to respond to the request. He was not located on Wednesday.

Faced with the protests, the Joint Parliamentary Front of the Autonomous and CLT truck driver sent official letters to the director general of the PRF, the Ministry of Infrastructure, the Presidency of the Republic and other bodies, in which it asked for immediate action by the public security forces to ensure the traffic on highways. The front claims that, as a result of the acts initiated on September 7th, there are still traffic obstructions on federal roads “with wood, stones and tires”.

President of the front, Deputy Nereu Crispim (PSL-RS) stated that there is “threat to physical integrity and damage to property with the throwing of stones against truck drivers and transporters and against our Constitution, with regard to the free right to go and come over”.

The fact that the letter was sent by the Front reinforces the lack of unanimity in the category regarding the stoppages. Entities representing autonomous truck drivers and calling for mobilizations in favor of specific demands of the category did not adhere to the acts. Last week, representatives of the category considered that there could be occasional presence of transporters at the events, but in an isolated way, without associative organization.

At least nine entities, including associations, confederations and unions linked to the category informed yesterday that they do not support the strike and are not participating in the acts.

The National Association of Cargo Transport and Logistics (NTC&Logística), which claims to bring together around 4,000 transport companies and more than 50 employers, expressed its repudiation of the blockades. In a statement, the organization states that the stoppages could cause serious consequences for the supply, which could reach the final consumer and the trade of products of all kinds, including essential items such as food, medicine and fuel.

The president of the Brazilian Association of Motor Vehicle Drivers (Abrava), Wallace Landim, known as Chorão, believes that the movement is of a political nature with the participation of transport businessmen and their employees, and not autonomous transporters. “Truck drivers are being used as a mass of maneuver”, said Chorão, who was one of the main leaders of the category in the 2018 strike. “It is clear that the agenda is not of the category”.

The director of the National Confederation of Transport and Logistics Workers (CNTTL), Carlos Dahmer, reported having seen some points of demonstrations by truck drivers, “as expected” in front of demonstrations in Bolsonaro. “We saw agribusiness vehicles, such as tractors and agricultural machinery, and the wing of patriotic supporters of President Bolsonaro. The autonomous transporter will continue to try to work”, he said.

The CNTTL recently sent an official letter to the president of the STF, Luiz Fux, repudiating “extremist” acts, the statements by singer Sérgio Reis and what it called “pseudo leaders” of truck drivers, saying that it does not condone undemocratic acts.

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