French taxi drivers had arranged a major protest on Monday but things turned nasty, as the demonstrators took their frustrations out on Uber cars outside two of Paris’ main airports.
Five major taxi unions had joined forces to protest against the “unfair competition” from Uber and other chauffeur services, reports Le Monde.
Kat Borlongan was travelling from the Charles de Gaulle airport on Monday, when the Uber car she was in was attacked by protesters. They threw rocks and paint and then smashed a passenger window before finally slashing one of the tires. Uber has confirmed in a statement that the attack took place.
Taxis belonging to the protesters were blocking one of the main highways from the airport, forcing cars in to single file on one lane. Renaud Visage, who was travelling in the car with Ms Borlongan, reports how when the car passed through the checkpoint, “three or four” men on each side launched the attack that left the passengers with cuts to their hands. It was at a second road blockade that the tires were slashed, preventing them from continuing on their journey.
“They also tried to open the doors, but fortunately our driver had locked them,” says Visage, who was returning to Paris from a trip to the Philippines.
Although there was a police presence, it seems that no one intervened to prevent this attack.
“The police were there, but they were just watching,” says Visage, who suffered emotional trauma as a result of the attack. “They were not actively doing anything.”
Back in December, a decree was issued allowing independent operators the right to offer their services in France, as long as they wait at least 15 minutes before collecting a passenger. However taxi unions are now calling for more restrictions, demanding that Uber and similar services wait at least 30 minutes.
Uber has faced similar opposition to its services in the US as well. In response to Monday’s events, Visage was contacted and offered compensation for the cost of his trip.