Spain’s government says it will mobilise more than 23,000 police officers to crack down on a lorry drivers’ strike against rising fuel prices.
A number of drivers have been blamed for attacking other colleagues who have not supported the walkout.
Rocks have allegedly been thrown at lorries on Spanish roads, while cargo tarps have reportedly been torn and tires punctured.
Transport Minister Raquel Sánchez has claimed that a group of far-right extremists is “bent on blackmailing this country”.
“This violent behaviour is not representative of the transport sector,” Sánchez said. “We are aware [of the difficulties over fuel prices], but we won’t give in to this blackmail.”
Police across Spain have been ordered to ensure that the delivery of essential goods and services is maintained, the Interior Ministry said.
The open-ended strike, which began Monday, has not been supported by Spain’s main transport trade unions nor its road haulage federations.
Lorry drivers have complained that the rising cost of diesel fuel and energy and left them in a “catastrophic” situation.
The government says those involved in the strike are a minority of the country’s lorry drivers.
The walkout has threatened to disrupt national supply chains, with some businesses reporting shortages of fresh produce such as milk and fish.
During their protest, lorry drivers have also slowed traffic by driving slowly in convoys.