9 de noviembre de 2015 / 13:17 / en 2 años

Brazil truckers launch strike in agricultural belt

SAO PAULO, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Independent truckers in Brazil started an indefinite strike on Monday, blocking traffic in a few states in the agricultural powerhouse, according to federal highway police.

Roads were blocked in a handful of points in coffee-growing Minas Gerais and No. 2 soy state Parana, as well as in Santa Catarina. There were protests in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul but traffic was not blocked, police said.

A two-week truck strike in late February blocked roads at more than 100 sites in six states. The federal government is negotiating with autonomous truckers to try to prevent a prolonged strike and supply shortages.

The February strike included specific demands such as controlling rising diesel costs and implementing minimum freight rates, concerns organizers still don’t believe have been met. But this protest is more political in nature and includes calls for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff.

Brazil is the world’s top exporter of soybeans, coffee, sugar and beef.

The truckers’ protest comes at a time of deepening discontent in Latin America’s largest economy, complicating negotiations.

The country’s main trucking unions are not participating in the strike. An informal group called the National Transport Command, which has been organizing the demonstrations online, has more than 39,000 Facebook followers.

A video posted by the Command late on Sunday said they were fighting to end corruption and for more opportunities for all Brazilians. (Reporting by Gustavo Bonato and Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Bernadette Baum and W Simon)

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