France’s interior minister, in a bid to halt a day of sometimes violent protests by taxi drivers angered by UberPop, has said that the low-cost car service must be shut down.
He said orders would be given to seize their vehicles.
Bernard Cazeneuve’s announcement came after striking taxi drivers angered at a loss of income caused by cheap services like UberPop blocked highways, burned tires and smashed cars around France.
Cazeneuve met with taxi union representatives before the announcement in a bid to restore order. He said 70 vehicles were damaged, seven police officers injured and 10 arrests made yesterday when 30 legal complaints were filed against UberPop.
Among those caught up in the protests was singer Courtney Love, who tweeted her frustration, saying her ride form the airport was ambushed and she was rescued by two men on a motorcycle.
Cazeneuve said he would meet with UberPop officials to tell them their service "is illegal."
"It must, therefore, be closed," he said. "The government will never accept the law of the jungle."
Taxi drivers say that the U.S. ride-hailing company Uber is stealing their livelihood. Rising tensions exploded into violence on Thursday.
Travelers going to and from the airport walked alongside highways with their bags. With roads blocked, some never made it to the airport.
"They’ve ambushed our car and are holding our driver hostage," Love tweeted. "They’re beating the cars with metal bats. this is France?? I’m safer in Baghdad."
It wasn’t immediately clear what type of car Love was riding in.
Taxi drivers are angry, saying Uber’s lowest cost service is taking their livelihood away.
Despite repeated rulings against the low-cost UberPop service, its drivers have continued to ply French roads and the American company is actively recruiting drivers and passengers alike. Uber claims to have a total of 400,000 customers a month in France.
Riot police chased strikers from Paris’ ring road, where protesters torched tires in the middle of the roadway and swarmed onto exit ramps at rush hour.