HUNDREDS of Spanish and Portuguese motorists gathered at the border in a protest on wheels today against the decision to install tolls on the Autovía del Algarve.
Around 50 cars set off from the industrial estate in Ayamonte (Huelva) and met with their fellow protestors who had set off from Monte Gordo in south-east Portugal at the checkpoint on the border between the two countries.
Demonstrators say the tolls at the border will drastically reduce trade relations and free movement between the two countries, something which has been more dynamic than ever since the bridge over the river Guadiana was built 20 years ago.
The Portuguese protestors – whose government it is which has decided to make tolls payable on the Algarve motorway – say they will not stop their demonstrations, because even if Portuguese politicians decide not to enforce tolls now, they will attempt to do so every year thereafter.
Demonstrators included both members of the public and politicians.
Numerous Spaniards and expatriates who live in the province of Huelva, southern Spain, work in Portugal, where wages are higher and there are better job prospects.
Another bonus is the time difference, which means that if they have an hour's commute and start work at 09.00hrs, they can leave their homes at 09.00hrs to get there.
It does mean, however, that the journey home feels longer, since if they leave work at 17.00hrs, they will not be home until 19.00hrs.