Brazil schools close as truckers' strike enters fifth day

Brazil schools close as truckers' strike enters fifth day
Striking truckers and motorcycle messengers block the entrance of BR Distribuidora, a fuel station run by the state-run oil company Petrobras, as they stop trucks from leaving and distributing fuel to gas stations in Brasilia, Thursday, May 24, 2018. The truckers' strike is snarling traffic and causing fuel shortages across the country as oil prices rise and Brazil's real falls against the dollar. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Thousands of Brazilian truckers angry over fuel price hikes blocked roads on Friday, the fifth day of a strike that led thousands of schools to shutter, long lines to form at gas stations and several flights to be canceled.

The strike continued despite a deal reached late Thursday between the government and several unions that represent truckers.

The parked long-haul trucks have had a domino effect across Brazil this week as gas stations received sporadic shipments of fuel and supermarkets proved unable to stock shelves.

Public schools and universities in several cities announced the cancellation of classes on Friday, and the international airport in the capital of Brasilia announced that nine flights were canceled, including an American Airlines flight from Miami.

Brasilia, which is in the middle of the country, has been particularly hard hit because it gets fuel from trucks coming from Brazilian coasts.

The government and several unions that represent truckers said late Thursday they had reached a deal for a suspension of the strike for 15 days.

The government said it would subsidize fuel prices by lowering several taxes. On Wednesday, state oil company Petrobras also announced a 10 percent drop in diesel prices for the next two weeks.

For many truckers, however, those moves did not seem to be enough, and it was not clear if they would agree to the deal’s terms.

The strike comes as Latin America’s largest economy struggles to fully recover from its worst recession in decades. Unemployment has yet to decline, and the Brazilian real has dropped sharply against the U.S. dollar over the last few months.