Taxi drivers in Paris took to the streets on Thursday to protest UBER and the threat the service poses to their livelihood. The cabbies feel that UBER is taking customers away from the licensed drivers and France has outlawed the UBERpop app, although that hasn’t stopped the company from skirting around the legal vocabulary according to CNN:
The UberPOP app was ruled illegal by the French government last year, but the company hasn’t yet exhausted all legal recourse.
Didier Hogrel, president of the National Federation of Taxis, told CNN that the taxi drivers were taking action at Paris’ airports, at the capital’s Gare du Nord and Gare de Lyon train stations, and at Porte Maillot, in the Montparnasse area.
One taxi driver was injured by a private car driver near Orly airport Thursday morning and was taken to a hospital, he said.
U.S. singer Courtney Love said she had been caught up in the protests, tweeting, “they’ve ambushed our car and are holding our driver hostage. they’re beating the cars with metal bats. this is France?? I’m safer in Baghdad.”
Love posted a photo of her UBER cab on Twitter, showing the glass smashed. Several similar scenes filled social media and the video above allegedly shows a cabbie throwing a rock off an overpass to hit an UBER car below. These drivers might be on strike until at least Friday, but that doesn’t mean they’re not out there keeping busy.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve took to the airwaves to talk about the legal developments surrounding this heated issue, calling for calm from the side of the cab drivers and claiming that all UBER vehicles operating illegally will be seized if caught:
The law must be respected, he said, and “nothing justifies acts of violence.”
According to the law, Cazeneuve said, UberPOP is illegal and its drivers risk prison terms and the confiscation of their vehicles. Some have already had such penalties imposed, he said.
Whatever UberPOP argues, Cazeneuve said, its drivers are not paying taxes or charges and are in effect working in the black market.
UBER riders are apparently not in any danger from the protestors, but some are apparently being asked to hold weapons as seen in the photo above. It seems a little like the wild west on the streets of Paris, but tomorrow may hold a different set of circumstances. It certainly can’t be much worse.