Frustration Grows for Truckers Trying to Get Home for Holiday

Drivers scuffle with cops in Dover as France keeps them out due to COVID variant
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2020 7:24 AM CST
Tensions Rise for Stranded Truckers in UK
Vehicles wait at the entrance to the Port of Dover, blocked by police as they line up to be allowed to leave, in Dover, England, on Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

In an attempt to slow down the "out of control" spread of a new coronavirus variant in the UK, various EU nations had banned travel from the island nation. That's now led to a backlog of truckers in the port city of Dover who want to get to France, and the truckers are not happy, reports Reuters. Thousands of drivers trying to take the ferry to Calais were told Tuesday they could start crossing the English Channel if they took a COVID test and it came back negative. Trucks have been backed up for miles on a highway leading to the port, while others are now parked at a former airport in Manston, waiting for the green light to board the ferry just days before the UK is set to leave the EU at the end of the month. But a UK minister says there are so many of the trucks—the Road Haulage Association, a UK trade group, estimates up to 10,000 of them—that it could take "a few days" to clear the backlog.

The truckers are now losing patience, blaring their horns and protesting against police in the port city. "They're tired, frustrated, desperately want to get home for Christmas," an RHA rep told the BBC on Tuesday. Per the Independent, news footage showed cops scuffling with dozens of drivers on Wednesday morning, with Kent police noting one person was arrested at the airport. Adding to the truckers' frustration: There's no COVID testing facility in Dover, and they say no one's been offering them food, drinks, or bathroom facilities. "We continue to work with partner agencies to ensure everyone is kept informed of the latest procedures and requirements," the police agency said Wednesday. (Experts fear the coronavirus variant is already here in the US.)

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