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Fuel shortages in Wallonia as protests continue
More than 400 petrol stations in southern Belgium have run dry, as protestors continue to blockade fuel depots as part of the Gilets Jaunes (yellow vests) movement.
The Belgian Petroleum Federation is calling on the authorities "to take urgent measures" and put an end to the blockades which have prevented trucks entering and leaving several plants in Wallonia since Friday.
"The situation is getting worse by the day," the federation said on Tuesday. "The initially peaceful actions of the yellow vests movement has unfortunately taken on proportions that are no longer in line with their original purpose, and which affect public order and safety."
The Gilets Jaunes movement began in France as a protest against the rising cost of fuel. Thousands of people protested around France at the weekend and the movement has spread to parts of Belgium.
Of the 1,200 petrol stations in Wallonia, some 460 have run out of petrol and diesel so far. Fuel depots in Brussels and Flanders are working overtime to try to make up for the supply shortages in the south.
The petrol federation added: "The actions are affecting the petrol supply to citizens and businesses - and will harm the economy and the supply of heatig fuel to citizens as winter approaches."
The Belgian interior ministry said it was monitoring the situation closely. "It is up to local forces to intervene," said a spokesman for minister Jan Jambon. "If necessary, they can seek the support of the federal police."
The E19 motorway was blocked in both directions for several hours on Monday night and Tuesday morning by Gilets Jaunes protestors in Nivelles, near the Feluy fuel plant. They cut down a tree and set fire to a truck, causing major traffic delays.
Photo: Carole Heymans/Belga