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General News Thu, 29 May 2003

Tanker drivers attack journalists

Journalists in Tema who had gone to the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) to meet the Executives of Tanker Drivers Association about the withdrawal of their services were on Wednesday attacked by the drivers and their mates.

The six journalists arrived at the TOR gate where the Association's offices are located but before they could enter, they heard shouts from behind them with some people mentioning Peace FM and Adom FM.

Some of the executive members rushed to protect them from being manhandled by their members. Three of the journalists managed to enter the office, leaving another three, who were nearly attacked.

The leadership of the Association had to struggle with their colleagues in order to free them. The attackers accused some radio stations of distortion of facts about the issue.

When the journalists waited for about one hour without being briefed by the executive members and their National Chairman, they left through a secret route.

Earlier, some of the drivers GNA interviewed said they had decided at a meeting not to load fuel until their members who were now in custody were released.

The 35 people who were sent to Circuit Court "B" on Tuesday were remanded in custody until June 3 when they will reappear in court.

The protesters, however, allowed a police tanker to load, but warned the driver that it was his last chance.

They, however, refused to let in a tanker, which was called in by the TOR security personnel and the drivers damaged the tanker.

TOR officials called in the police, who brought in water cannon to drive away the protesters but all efforts made by the management of TOR to persuade the drivers to load fuel have failed.

Meanwhile, mounting queues have started forming at various filling stations that were visited, indicating that fuel supply was diminishing.

Source: gna