Page last updated at 19:00 GMT, Thursday, 5 June 2008 20:00 UK

Bikers protest over fuel prices


Hundreds of motorbike riders protest on the motorway

Hundreds of motorbike riders protesting against high fuel prices have caused delays on motorways outside Manchester.

The rush-hour protest, which included some other vehicles, left Birch services on junction 18 of the M62 just after 0800 BST to head into the city.

Rolling-roadblocks were used to lessen delays, but traffic backed up behind the convoy on the M60.

Greater Manchester Police said a "small number" of lorry drivers were warned by police for driving too slow.

An estimated 500 bikers on the M602 were greeted by applauding onlookers as they made their way through Salford.

The protesters had travelled on the M62 and M60 before joining the M602 towards Salford Quays.

The group stopped their engines for 10 minutes on the M602 after police stopped them from heading along Regent Road and towards the city centre.

They then turned down Trafford Road to finish the protest at Salford Quays at about 0945 BST.

Bikers at Salford Quays
I think it's brilliant - it's a pity they're not blocking off Downing Street and London too
Michael Cleary
Garage owner

The protest is understood to have been led by two motorcycling fuel protesters, known only as Maverick and Triumph Man.

Maverick told the BBC that thousands of people had supported the protest, and organisers "could not have asked for anything better".

"This is just to show the government that there's one voice here, that we all want the same thing - a reduction, if not a complete cut in the VAT on fuel," he said.

"We've had the lorries out, we've had vans out - we've even had an ice cream van out here.

"It has been absolutely fantastic and I can't thank these guys enough from the bottom of my heart."

Assistant Chief Constable Ian Hopkins of Greater Manchester Police, said some trucks were stopped and warned for driving "unacceptably slow".

"The vast majority of those taking part have expressed their views in a way that was agreed with police, that was safe for motorists and that caused minimum disruption," he said.

"We are disappointed that a small number of other demonstrators let them down and acted in an unacceptable way, causing added disruption to some drivers."

'Lot of support'

The protest was welcomed by Salford garage owner Michael Cleary, 56.

"I think it's brilliant. It's a pity they're not blocking off Downing Street and London too," he said.

"It's disgusting, the price of fuel, especially for taxis.

"People are cutting down on servicing because they can't see what they're getting out of it."

Biker Steve Sutcliffe, from Edenfield, Lancashire, who took part, said he spoke to motorcyclists from Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and Lancashire.

"It was very good-natured, people were waving from the side of the road and there was a lot of support," he said.

"I've never done anything like this before, but I felt I needed to make it known that people are fed up about fuel prices."

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