Italy’s taxi drivers have staged a sixth day of protests in major cities across the country.
The aim is to force the government to crack down on burgeoning limousine business and the app-based ride hire company Uber.
Italian taxi drivers clash with police during protest over Uber pic.twitter.com/eoluqUsuL0— AFP news agency (@AFP) February 21, 2017
Clashes with another protest
The taxi drivers protest coincided with a demonstration by market and stallholders.
They are up in arms over plans to implement the EU “Bolkestein” directive aimed at opening up competition within the services sector.
One group of protesters closed roads around the prime minister’s office.
Another, including both taxi drivers and stallholders, crowded around the entrance to the nearby Democratic Party (PD) headquarters.
“Buffoons, buffoons,” they shouted.
Scuffles broke out between the demonstrators and riot police outside the PD headquarters.
Demonstrators charged at police and pelted them with eggs and flares.
What they are saying
“They want to take away the jobs that we’ve been doing for 35 years and give it to the multinationals. How will I feed my child? I have paid contributions for 33 years but they will not even give me a pension,” said stall holder Ciro Cancella.
“Our jobs. We have had a stall in Rome for 35 years. We pay the national insurance contributions, we pay tax, we pay VAT…” Cancella’s brother, Mario.
When did the taxi action start?
The governing PD said it would once more delay introducing norms aimed at regulating car-hire and car-share schemes.
Taxi drivers operate under rigid regulation and say they are being penalised by the growth of scarcely-monitored app-based services like Uber.
The software connects users to the nearest drivers via smartphone and increasingly popular chauffered limousines.
The government looked set to regulate the whole sector in 2008.
However, the initiative was struck down by the courts.
The introduction of subsequent revisions to the law has been repeatedly delayed by successive governments.