Latin America & Caribbean

Argentina police confront lorry driver strike over pay

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Media captionMilitary police clash with lorry drivers staging the fuel blockade

The Argentine government has sent in security forces to clear access to fuel refineries blocked by striking lorry drivers demanding pay rises.

The drivers have been blocking access to the country's main refineries after defying a government order for talks over a 30% pay increase.

President Cristina Fernandez returned home early from a UN conference in Brazil to deal with the matter.

The drivers flouted compulsory conciliation, reports say.

The leader of the country's main trade union federation, which includes the drivers' union, Hugo Moyano, is at odds with President Fernandez.

A legal complaint will be filed against Mr Moyano for the action, transportation minister Florencio Randazzo is reported as saying.

"The president has ordered us to deploy all the state's forces to be able to quickly solve the [fuel] shortages they want to impose on the country," Security Secretary Sergio Berni told Argentine television.

"Those people who try through force and violence to block the trucks from leaving [plants] will have to explain that in court," he added.

Argentina is one of the world's biggest exporters of grains and the vast majority of farm goods are sent to port by lorry, Reuters news agency reports.

In Buenos Aires, some people sat in long lines on Wednesday, which was a public holiday, to fill up their tanks with petrol.

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