Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Will France repatriate its collection of 19th century Algerian skulls?

Read more

ENCORE!

Film show: 'The Dancer', 'Aquarius' and 'Dogs'

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

War in Syria: Residents recount ordeal of life in Aleppo

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Shimon Peres’ Quixotic battle for Israeli-Palestinian peace

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Sarkozy's friends, ongoing cases, bothers

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Can oil producers agree to cut supply?

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Women terrorists are 'probably the future', says ex-CIA agent

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Malian jihadist jailed for nine years for destroying ancient Timbuktu shrines

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Juncker and Schulz debate the future of Europe

Read more

france 24 France

Transport strife feared as French taxi strike enters second day

© AFP / Eric Feferberg | Striking taxi drivers gather at Porte Maillot in Paris on the night of January 26, 2016 in Paris.

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2016-01-27

Protests by striking French taxi drivers ran into a second day Wednesday, a day after they blocked roads and access to airports and train stations leading to clashes with police, arrests and transport chaos.

Many of the disgruntled taxi drivers spent the night in their cars at Porte Maillot, a key access road to Paris where the strikers set up a massive barricade the day before, blocking traffic and leading to clashes with police.

"We are determined. We will not move," Ibrahima Sylla, one of the striking taxi drivers, early this morning.

Police warned motorists to avoid the area Wednesday morning and traffic remained blocked as of 6am local time. Traffic was also disrupted in the Bercy area in the east of the city, which is another key access route for people living in the capital’s suburbs.

Unfair competition

The drivers are protesting at what they see as unfair competition from private hire cabs such as Uber, and the government’s inability to enforce laws designed to protect their industry.

During Tuesday’s protests, French riot police fired teargas as taxi drivers set fire to tyres sending plumbs of black acrid smoke over the city. The taxi drivers also tried to force their way onto the capital’s main ring road, while others blocked off access to airports across the country as part of the nationwide strike. The drivers' "go slow" protest also caused major traffic jams in major cities across France.

At least 24 people were detained in the protests around Paris, according to police, while i-Télé television reported that two people were injured at the capital's Orly Airport when a shuttle bus tried to force its way past a taxi drivers' blockade.

Violence condemned

Prime Minister Manuel Valls condemned the violent scenes, while also promising taxi driver representatives in a meeting that more efforts would be made to ensure other car ride services respected rules limiting them to pre-booked trips, according to a statement from the premier’s office.

Anti-riots policemen arrive as striking taxi drivers block the traffic at Porte Maillot in Paris on January 26, 2016. © AFP / Thomas Samson

This measure would help to prevent them stealing clients at airports and train stations from licensed taxis, he said.

But the prime minister’s assurances failed to placate the angry licensed cab drivers, who were joined by colleagues from as far away as Spain, Belgium and the UK who had travelled to France in a show of solidarity.

‘This is war’

London black cab driver Kamel Abdellaoi, who travelled from the UK, told FRANCE 24 that fed-up taxi drivers had “nothing to lose” and that the protests would only intensify.

“This is war,” he said, referring to cabbies’ opposition to apps such as Uber.

Uber has triggered similar protests by taxi drivers in cities around the world and led to legal disputes in a number of European countries.

“Paris cabbies have paid up to 240,000 euros just to get a license,” the Abdellaoi pointed out.

A string of protests in France last year saw taxi drivers torched cars and attacked several Uber drivers and passengers.

Tuesday also saw French air-traffic controllers’ go on strike over changes to their salaries, leading to one in five flights being cancelled at Paris airports and creating further travel disruption.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP, REUTERS)

Date created : 2016-01-27

  • FRANCE

    Taxi drivers clash with police as France hit by wave of strikes

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Arrests as major strike causes travel chaos across France

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Uber France wants to open reservation platform to taxi drivers

    Read more

COMMENT(S)