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Fresh fuel protests halt French traffic

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Fresh fuel protests halt French traffic

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Lorry drivers in France have staged a second wave of fuel protests, paralysing traffic up and down the country. They have warned the day of action will have a more serious impact than blockades and go-slow operations earlier this month. And they are hoping French President Nicolas Sarkozy will take note. The show of strength comes just a day before France takes over the rotating presidency of the European Union.

With oil prices hitting a new high of more than 143 dollars a barrel today, hauliers want help for their struggling industry. Sarkozy is expected to ask EU peers to back a reduction in value-added tax on fuel across the 27-nation bloc. Soaring prices have sparked protests throughout Europe and the world, increasing fears of political instability and a global economic downturn.