- Riot police use tear gas and baton charges in running battles with taxi drivers protesting cut-price Uber app service
- Access to the capital’s major ring road was blocked off, along with entrances to Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports
- Anybody caught in an Uber taxi saw the vehicle rocked from side to side or even tipped upside down by protesters
- Similar scenes in Toulouse and Marseilles where cabbies blocked roads and slowed access to airports and trains
Rock star Courtney Love today told how her car was smashed up and her driver ‘taken hostage’ after getting caught up in violent demonstrations in Paris.
The 50-year-old tweeted a picture of her taxi’s shattered window after it was attacked by cabbies protesting against rival firm Uber.
She said: ‘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.’
The widow of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain tweeted rapper Kanye West saying: ‘We may turn back to the airport and hide out with you.’
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Protesters try to turn over a mini-cab at Porte Maillot in Paris as hundreds of taxi drivers converged on airports and other areas in the city
French riot police push an overturned car. There have been similar protests in London, but today’s in France is by far the most violent to date
Face-off: French CRS riot police face demonstrators as striking taxi drivers block the Boulevard Peripherique near Porte Maillot in Paris
Riot police were involved in running battles with taxi drivers protesting against Uber across France, with Britons among those caught up in the chaos.
Tear gas and baton charges were used around the major Paris airports as massive traffic jams built up during the morning rush hour.
Up in flames: Striking taxi drivers burn tyres and flares during a nationwide protest against car-sharing service Uber in Marseille, France
Taxi drivers on strike burn tyres during a national protest against car-sharing service Uber, blocking road access to airports and train stations
Access to the city’s ring road was blocked off, along with entrances to Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports, while there were also violent clashes in other cities.
Burning tyres were placed in tunnels, causing thick black smoke, while anybody caught in an Uber taxi saw the vehicle rocked from side to side or even tipped upside down.
The mayhem follows chaotic scenes in Calais where wildcat strikes caused massive tailbacks of lorries which were promptly mobbed by migrants attempting to reach Britain.
‘Officers have been deployed to deal with the trouble, which has caused huge disruption,’ said a Paris police spokesman.
Demonstrators light firecrackers at Porte Maillot in Paris during protests against UberPOP, a taxi app facing opposition from traditional cabs
French CRS riot police arrive to intervene as demonstrators block Porte Maillot in Paris amid chaotic scene across the capital
Similar scenes of disruption were being played out across France with cabbies blocking access to the train station in the southern city of Toulouse and others slowing access to its airport.
In Marseille, protesters slowed traffic in the city and on roads heading to the airport.
‘UberPOP is banned, but it’s still here,’ cabbie Stephane Molla said in the southwestern city of Bordeaux.
‘We have to go through the whole routine: the licence, the rates we don’t set, bans on flat-rate plans,’ added another driver, Fabrice Moreau.
Out en masse: Taxis gather at a major entrance of Paris. Access to the city’s ring road was blocked off, along with entrances to its airports
The French cabbies are furious at competition from Uber, the rival service based on an increasingly popular app which offers cut-price fares
Travellers whose cars were blocked in traffic walk along a freeway with their baggage while trying to get to Charles-de-Gaulle Airport near Paris
Travellers try to make their way to the airport. Despite a law making UberPop service illegal, the company continues to develop in French cities
The French cabbies are furious at competition from Uber, the rival service based on an increasingly popular app.
The cheapest prices of all are offered by UberPOP, which puts customers in touch with private drivers at prices lower than those of traditional taxis.
Karim Asnoun, of the CGT trade union, said: ‘The aim is to block roads because we are very angry.’
The drivers say Uber, an American company, is threatening their jobs by taking customers away from licensed cab companies.
A taxi with signs reading ‘Uber taxi, Uber pharmacist, Uber doctor etc.’ is parked outside terminal West at Orly Airport, in Orly, south of Paris
A sign on a taxi reads ‘Hollande help! Get rid of Uber’ as taxi drivers block Porte Maillot in Paris
There have been similar protests in London, but today’s in France is by far the most violent to date.
Last week taxi drivers in Strasbourg, eastern France, posed as customers in order to lure Uber drivers to isolated spots where they were assaulted.
Uber’s mobile phone app puts customers in touch with private drivers who charge lower fares than registered cabs.
Despite Uber’s popularity among the paying public, it is facing numerous legal challenges from the taxi lobby.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Tuesday UberPOP is ‘absolutely illegal’. Paris prosecutors have promised to step up their efforts to crack down on the service.
UberPOP has been banned in France since January, with drivers risking up to a year in prison and a €15,000($16,800) fine.
Source: The Mail Online