The National Guild of Transporters and Drivers (GNTC) of Peru called for an indefinite strike starting yesterday in demand of the fuel hike, toll payment hike, vaccination of drivers, road improvement nationwide, etc.
According to the Peruvian National Police (PNP), the Panamericana Sur was interrupted in several stretches in the regions of Ica, Arequipa and Tacna; the Panamericana Norte, in Lima, Ancash, La Libertad, Piura and Tumbes; and in the Central highway the same happened in Junin and the eastern part of Lima.
This morning RPP Noticias reports that the Minister of Transport and Communications (MTC), Eduardo Gonzalez, said out that the government has put forward proposals that “allow immediate solutions to the problems and claims” presented by the union.
Gonzales said that in the meeting held yesterday with the transport leaders “there were two major issues…One related to the price of diesel, and the other to the claim for the return of the selective consumption tax”, he said.
Gonzalez urged the union to keep the roads free to guarantee the passage of vehicles and those transporting oxygen and vaccines. “We have to respect the right of the people to have to circulate on the roads of the country”, he said.
The meeting was also attended by the Vice Ministers of Transport, Economy, Hydrocarbons and Governance and Territorial Ordering of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers (PCM).
The strike against the fuel hike is felt hard in the Cusco Region where hundreds of protesters blocked the main access and exit roads throughout the region with various types of objects including vehicles, large rocks, tires, and even old televisions and microwaves.
“The protesters use whatever they find at hand to block the roads: sticks, stones, in this case recycled things; in previous years they have even put junk vehicles and other old things on the roads, let’s just hope that when they finish with their protest they pick up everything they used”, said according to PNP Colonel Alejandro Castillo, chief of the Cusco Police Region.
Castillo told Diario Correo that so far there have been no clashes with the demonstrators, except for a brawl and tire punctures with carriers who did not join the protest measure. “Although they have the right to protest, other people also have the right to transit. Fortunately this has been understood so far and there are no major clashes,” he said.
The most pronounced blockades are registered at the Espinar Bridge (Espinar), Arturo de Sicuani Bridge (Canchis), Combapata Bridge, Cruzcunca and San Pedro, also in Canchis.
It should be noted that the strike of transporters joins the demonstrations carried out by coca growers of La Convención Valley in Cusco, who are claiming for the lack of purchase or purchase at low prices of coca leaf by the state-owned company Enaco.
In Arequipa, hundreds of people walked several kilometers to reach their destination. The road from Puno was one of the most blocked by protesters who went from the Añasahuayco bridge to the district of Yura to place stones or burn tires. These pickets were set up along the highway. The entrance to the city of units coming from Cusco and Puno was impossible since 8:30 yesterday morning. Many residents joined in, demanding a reduction in the cost of domestic gas. “Food, gas, everything is going up. This affects us,” said a housewife from the Asociación Héroes de la Breña.
The residents of Cono Norte were also affected. There was no urban traffic in the area and they had to walk to reach their homes. Interprovincial buses were stopped for several hours in different stretches, such as Añashuayco, the Cuidad Municipal intersection and meters from the entrance to APIPA.
Kilometer 48 of the Panamericana Sur was another protest point. Truck drivers left their heavy vehicles on both sides of the road. Only private vehicles were allowed to pass. At the La Joya intersection a group of motorcycle taxi drivers also blocked the road. Residents joined them asking for a reduction in the price of domestic gas. Cab drivers also held marches in the city.
Teofilo Sanchez, Union of Truck Drivers of Arequipa, said that the strike will continue today because they only addressed the point of fuel reduction. “We are waiting for PetroPéru’s proposal”, he said.
In Puno, the transporter Patricio Muñuicio, is thinking of turning to another line of business. “This situation is desperate. Gas is going up and it is affecting our homes. Fuel is going up and it also affects us,” he said. His colleagues took the main roads in and out of the region.
In Ilave, protestors took the international bridge that connects them with Bolivia. In Puno, there was no connection with the southern and northern provinces. In Juliaca, motorcycle taxi drivers closed the roads and prevented traffic.
In Melgar, Azángaro, Putina, heavy cargo transport drivers, interprovincial transport, and urban service, came out to protest. “Before the gallon of oil cost 10.40 soles. Now we are paying 15 soles. People have no money,” said Muñuico.
The general secretary of urban transport workers, Estanislao Alegre, expressed his discomfort because gasoline has increased by almost five soles in the last three months. “It is an increase of almost 30% in that short time,” he said.
There were around 400 units in Tacna that were stationed in the main avenues of the city. Bladimir Ale, from his unit, maintained that the strike did not come about overnight. “Like fuel, tolls also went up”, he said. The representative of the Unión de Transportistas de Carga Pesada, Dante Morales, pointed out that they are demanding the removal of the Minister of Transportation, Eduardo Gonzales, for not responding to their demands.