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India faces protests over rising fuel prices

September 10, 2018

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Tires are set on fire by opposition Congress party activists to block traffic as one of them holds a placard during a protest against fuel price hike and other economy issues, in Jammu, India. — AP
Tires are set on fire by opposition Congress party activists to block traffic as one of them holds a placard during a protest against fuel price hike and other economy issues, in Jammu, India. — AP

Roads were empty, businesses were closed and schools shut down on Monday in parts of India, as opposition politicians looking toward elections called for a nationwide strike over rising fuel prices.

While the strike caused barely a ripple in many cities, protesters burned tires in remote Arunachal Pradesh, threw stones at stores that refused to close in the southern state of Karnataka and stopped buses from running in part of Gujarat.

Opposition leaders had called for a complete shutdown, with all businesses, schools and transportation networks closed.

The opposition, with an eye on national elections next year and key state elections later this year, blame the rising prices on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP).

"Narendra Modi: Down! Down!" demonstrators chanted at a small New Delhi protest.

Fuel prices are up nearly 15 per cent this year in India, largely as a result of the falling value of the Indian rupee.