Strikes, Protests Paralyze Sicily

By Dana Betlevy
Epoch Times Staff
Created: January 19, 2012 Last Updated: January 27, 2012
Related articles: World » Europe
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A stock photo of Castelbuono, Palermo province, in Sicily, Italy. Currently, Sicily is paralyzed by striking transportation drivers, farmers, and fishermen. The five-day strike that started Monday is mostly over excessive fuel costs. (Marcello Paternostro/AFP/Getty Images)

A stock photo of Castelbuono, Palermo province, in Sicily, Italy. Currently, Sicily is paralyzed by striking transportation drivers, farmers, and fishermen. The five-day strike that started Monday is mostly over excessive fuel costs. (Marcello Paternostro/AFP/Getty Images)

Heralded as the “Five Days of Sicily,” members of the Pitchforks Movement of farmers, and the Shock Force truck drivers’ consortium have paralyzed the Italian island, Sicily.

Striking transportation workers are blocking main roads with their trucks to protest against Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Monti’s cutbacks. The drivers, belonging to the Association of Sicilian Businesses, have also been joined by farmers and fishermen.

Read the Update: 
Truck Strike Spreads From Sicily to Rest of Italy


The main complaint of the protesters is the excessive rise in fuel costs. According to the organizers, the five-day strike that will last until Friday night.

Long lines have formed at the few remaining gas stations with fuel on hand. Roads, railways, and ports have been blocked in different parts of Sicily. Two ferries that were ready to set sail to Naples and Genoa, were forced to dock at the southern port city of Palermo, while some buses belonging to the Catania-Palermo line have canceled their routes, reported Italian news agency ANSA.

In the town of Santa Flavia, which is 20 km (about 12 miles) from Palermo, a near-tragedy was avoided when more than 200 fishermen, accompanied by their wives and children, blocked the railroad tracks just before a scheduled train was to pass.

The town’s mayor, Antonio Napoli, said, “These people are desperate because, due to European Union regulations, they are no longer able to fish. The cost of diesel has also increased from [1.30 to 1.80 euros] per liter in three years,” according to Corriere Della Sera, one of Italy’s main newspapers.

The protest has also affected the residents of Messina, the third largest city in Sicily, where more than 100 taxi drivers protested against the city government’s plan to stimulate the economy by liberalizing the sector. Under the proposed plan, all holders of taxi licenses would be able to own and run more than one taxi, accompanied by the general lowering of applicable licensing fees. Taxi drivers complain that this would make licenses far too easy to get, resulting in fierce competition in the sector.

Elsewhere on the island, a demonstrator in the town of Lentini, near the city of Siracusa, was stabbed in the face by a fruit vendor who tried to make his way past the blockade organized by the truck drivers. The victim, a 32-year-old farm worker, was taken to a hospital and was said to be in stable condition, according to ANSA.

The protest threatens to further paralyze the island in the coming days. “It is a peaceful revolution and we do not want to damage the Sicilians. Instead, we want to make everyone understand that solutions must be found to this crisis. We’ll be here night and day until Friday,” one protesters told the Corriere.

  • Sergio Vinci

    The photo is not of Palermo. It should be Castelbuono, a small town at about 80 kilometers from Palermo. The donkey is one of those used in the ecological collection of waste. 

    • The Epoch Times

      Thank you Sergio, we have made the correction. The caption meant to reference the province of Palermo, not the city. Much appreciated!

  • Anonymous

    the cost of diesel? from 30 to 80 (euro) cents per liter?NO! from 1.30 to 1.80 Euros!

    • The Epoch Times

      Than you Anna, we have made the correction. Much appreciated!

    • Alessandro Riolo

      To give some context to the readers from the US, this means that diesel went from $6.35 to $8.80 per gallon in a matter of months (while the price of crude oil was going down). To give some context to non US readers, the current average US price for diesel is $3.85 per gallon (close to a 60% discount to the Sicilian prices before the protests). Given that the price of crude oil is more or less the same (probably, it costs slightly less in Sicily than in the USA), and that the distribution, marketing and refining costs are lower in Sicily (whose countless refineries produce at least 42% of all Italian fuel, probably more), the difference is all due the Italian taxes.

  • Tron Tronworld

    Commies want to control ings that they cannot. THe Communists in Rome have spent all the money and then some and now they must pay. Sadly, it is the normal people who have to pay. Food riots are not pretty and the Goonions ( goonish unions ) will be playing with fire if the persist. Our family thankfully has some pasta in reserve, but the shelves are bare and the frutaiolas are closed. THis is bad and if the Benzinaio goes on sciopero its gonna be real bad. 
    La Zagera has no food.

  • Alessandro Riolo

    @epochtimes:disqus &  Dana Betlevy : let me compliment you, on my reckoning this is only the second article written on the Sicilian protests in all English speaking media worldwide. You were beaten only by Matthew Xuereb on the Times of Malta, tough he had the “advantage” that the protests were actually hitting the Maltese economy from the first day.

  • Anonymous

    Well done Sicily. At last someone is standing up to the coward’s who run the European Union  countrie’s, who are nothing but puppet’s being manipulated by the world’s bank’s,who are the real cause of the problem’s across Europe. While ordinary working class people have to suffer paycut’s and outrageous taxes on essential good’s, the banker’s award themselve’s massive bonus’s  and the puppet politician’s lick there shoe’s. Most of Europe’s politician’s are shareholder’s or at least sit on the board of the major bank’s . In my opinion the banker’s and the so-called representitive’s of the people should be thrown in prison for their criminal action’s. Keep it going Sicily, and hopefully the rest of Europe will come out and support you and maybe then someone will stand up and give the banker’s and politician’s the punishment they deserve. BRAVO SICILY. Ps.I’m Irish so I sympatise with you. We’re suffering just like you  

  • Franco23

    Protests where triggered after the speech of Mario Monti to the Sicilians:


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