June 10, 2018 / 6:19 PM / a year ago

Drivers in Bosnia block roads over fuel prices

SARAJEVO (Reuters) - Drivers across Bosnia blocked roads on Sunday in protest against rising fuel prices, warning of knock-on increases in prices for food and other goods, state television reported.

The one-hour blockade in the cities of Sarajevo, Banja Luka, Tuzla and Zenica, as well as a main regional road, had been organized on social networks, echoing similar action in neighboring Serbia in the past few days.

Kilometers-long columns of cars were formed on roads in central Bosnia, blocking drivers who were returning from weekend holidays.

Fuel prices were first increased in February after a rise in biofuel excise taxes but there have been two further increases, lifting the price of a liter of gasoline to 2.35 Bosnian marka (1.20 euros).

Drivers also blocked roads in major Serbian cities on Friday and Saturday, protesting against prices that have risen to 1.24 euros ($1.46) for a liter of gasoline and 1.30 euros for a liter of diesel.

Protesters said prices should be kept under 1 euro a liter in Bosnia and Serbia, where average monthly pay is about 400 euros.

Drivers in both countries have said they would continue daily protests.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Sunday that the protests were politically motivated, and both countries’ governments blame the higher prices on global markets, where crude oil prices have been bolstered over the past year by a supply pact led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Bosnia and Serbia import most of their oil products.

Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by David Goodman

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