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Spanish taxi drivers protest against Uber, Cabify

Latest update : 29/11/2017

© AFP | A taxi driver in a Guy Fawkes mask during a demonstration against the competition from rival Uber and Cabify in Madrid

MADRID (AFP) - 

Thousands of taxi drivers protested Wednesday in Madrid to ask the government to better regulate ride-hailing services such as Uber and Cabify.

Throwing firecrackers and lighting flares, the protesters clashed with police near parliament. Barriers blocking the road leading to the building ended up lying on their sides.

Taxi drivers complain that Uber-type services are endangering their jobs and that ride-hailing companies are not implementing existing rules.

The protest coincided with a national taxi strike as drivers ask the government to implement a fixed quota of one licensed vehicle from companies like US-based Uber or Spain's Cabify for every 30 taxis.

According to official figures, there is currently one licensed vehicle for every 10 taxis.

"I bought a taxi legally, 150,000 euros ($180,000), and they're giving licences to people who will operate like taxis," said Miguel Angel Codesal, a 44-year-old cabbie from Madrid.

This is not the first such protest in Spain, where the taxi sector counts some 100,000 people, according to the federation of taxis.

Ride-hailing services have met with similar protests and varying levels of resistance from authorities in cities around the world.

© 2017 AFP