30 October 2000
Protesters slam army fuel plans
FARMERS and hauliers have condemned government plans to use soldiers to drive petrol tankers in the event of further protests against high fuel taxes.
About 1000 troops have been trained to drive tankers if, as threatened, farmers and hauliers resume fuel blockades later this month.
There are two weeks left for the government to meet a 13 November deadline to pledge a cut in fuel tax, or face further action threatened by demonstrators.
The Daily Telegraph devotes a page of coverage to the ongoing debates over fuel. It features farmer Brynle Williams, who organised the first protest last month.
The Farmers For Action pressure group is reported as saying that using the army to transport fuel would fail to keep deliveries at their usual level.
David Handley, chairman of Farmers For Action, said that using soldiers would “turn this country from a democratic state into a dictatorship”.
The Guardian reports that the websites of the racist British National Party is urging its members to join future protests against fuel tax.