Angry French Taxi Drivers Block Paris Road to Protest Uber
27 Janvier 2016 - Autoblog
The French are great at food, wine, and mass protests. It's that last one that was on display today as taxi drivers set fires that blocked a major Parisian thoroughfare in protest of both Uber and unlicensed taxi drivers.
Of the 1,200 taxi drivers protesting in Paris, the BBC reports that "at least" 20 taxi drivers were arrested for "violence, carrying weapons and starting a fire." The bonfires were allegedly set before dawn and were later doused by firefighters. Other drivers tried to march on a freeway, but were pushed back by police officers using tear gas.
Rachid Boudjema, a spokesman for the taxi drivers, told the BBC that Uber drivers "vandalize professionals who are paying taxes, who respect the rules." The demonstration is part of a larger strike that's gripped France, with teachers, health care workers, and air traffic controllers all walking off the job.
While Uber is far from popular with taxi drivers around the globe, it's particularly hated by the French. Cabbies there have gone to great lengths to express their vitriol, smashing Uber cars on at least two different occasions, while French politicians have prosecuted Uber executives and sought to level the allegedly unfair playing field. This is far from the last time we'll hear about this issue.