Car tax demos cause frontier tailbacks in Romania

Bucharest - Demonstrators protesting increased car taxes blocked Romania's two main western border points of Nadlac and Bors Saturday, causing long tailbacks.

The protest was at the outgoing government of Prime Minister Calin Popesscu Tariceanu trebling environmental tax on newly-imported second- hand cars in a bid to protect Romania's own auto industry.

Similar demonstrations went ahead in central Bucharest and the northern city of Bistrita. There had already been demonstrations in other cities and towns the previous day.

The tax increase has seen a rush by motorists to register newly- imported cars before a 15 December deadline which had already been extended by a week to cope with registration demands.

Romania's biggest car-maker, the Renault subsidiary Dacia with a plant in the southern city of Pitesti, has already closed down for a month until January 11 amid falling demand as a result of the global financial crisis. It plans further production cuts.

The outgoing government was defeated in a November 30 election, and a new government is expected to be formed in early 2009. (dpa)