SAO PAULO, Feb 28 (Reuters) - A truck driver taking part in a strike over the high cost of fuel amongst other grievances died in southern Brazil on Saturday after a car ran him over at a blockade set up by the protesters, the federal government said.
The protest, now in its 11th day, was continuing in Brazil’s southern states of Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina, but has waned in other agricultural states. Highway police reported 38 roadblocks mounted by those on strike, down from 57 on Friday.
In a statement, the president’s office lamented the death of trucker Cléber Adriano Machado Ouriques on the BR-392 highway in Rio Grande do Sul, and said its proposals made to the striking truckdrivers on Wednesday were the best way to resolve the crisis.
Highway police in Rio Grande do Sul and members of the protest movement were not immediately available for comment.
The government has offered to freeze diesel prices for six months and pass a law to help lower toll costs, but protest leaders say it has not sufficiently addressed their concerns over high diesel prices and rising freight costs.
The strike’s economic toll is mounting as the delivery of grains and other food goods slows.
The Rio Grande port said on Friday it may run out of soybeans to load on ships this weekend while the National Pork and Poultry Association said 60 plants had closed temporarily and some starving chickens were resorting to cannibalism.
Roadblocks were reported at five locations on Saturday in top soybean growing state Mato Grosso, where some farmers are running out of diesel fuel needed to run farm equipment. (Reporting by Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)