A protest against Uber in Mexico 'paralyzed the roadways' before turning into a violent street riot
A protest against Uber in Guadalajara, Mexico, turned violent on Tuesday, as taxi drivers demonstrating against Uber and other ride-hailing services clashed with supporters of the companies and with police.The protest "paralyzed the roadways" in the city after a "massive closure of avenues with at least two thousand vehicles," according to Mexican newspaper La Jornada.
The tweet below shows taxi drivers amassing in the city center and blocking roadways with their vehicles. The drivers were gathering outside the state congress building.
Así el bloqueo de taxis sobre Alcalde, desde Hidalgo hasta Santuario. Conductores a las afueras del Congreso. pic.twitter.com/iIHQaCFsK1- Movilidad Jalisco (@MovilidadJal) March 8, 2016
The protest was announced last week with the intention of it happening before the state congress discussed the regulation of the ride-hailing services in the state of Jalisco, of which Guadalajara is the capital.A local workers' organization said allowing Uber into the Guadalajara market would be a "severe blow" to the traditional taxi business and that the ride-hailing service would be "unfair competition.""Uber is affecting us a lot. They're taking the food off our table," a taxi driver in Guadalajara told Vice News in August last year. "I've been working for 23 years but there are people who have been taxi drivers for 50 years, people who are old, who won't find work anywhere else."
The demonstration on Tuesday turned violent however, as protesting taxi drivers, supporters of the ride-hailing services, and local authorities clashed on the streets of Guadalajara.
"#Disturbance in #taxistasvsuber," the tweet below reads in English, as "people throw objects from rooftops" onto the streets below.
Fighting between protesting taxi drivers and merchants and bystanders also erupted in the Plaza de la Tecnologia, in the center of the city.
This is not the first violent incident related to Uber's operations in Guadalajara.In August of last year, several Uber drivers were abducted at gunpoint, with several of them pistol-whipped before having their cars stolen. The abductions came after a series of violent encounters in the city throughout the summer, according to Vice News.Uber began operations in six Mexican cities on March 8, adding to the eight cities it had operated in since late 2013, according to El Financiero. At the end of 2015, Uber reportedly had 1.2 million users in Mexico, serviced by about 39,000 drivers.
Mexican taxi drivers are not the only ones to push back against the ride-hailing service. In Colombia in November, Uber was given a six-month deadline to formally register its operations or face a ban; the order was followed by a $140,000 fine for "unauthorized taxi services" this month.In January, taxi drivers in France protested against Uber throughout the country, with violent clashes shutting down parts of Paris.
Uber was not immediately available for comment.
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