Taxi drivers have taken to the streets of Paris to contest France’s version of Uber, known as uberPOP. Tires are being set aflame, cars ambushed and flipped over, and roads to Charles de Gaulle airport have been completely blocked. Some taxi service clients are apparently being "held hostage," and riot police have been compelled to intervene.
The car service, which allows drivers without professional licenses to offer public transport, had been declared illegal in French courts, but remains a threat to the certified taxi industry after the ruling was overturned.
A number of public figures have been caught amid the uproar.
Courtney Love tweeted her shock that France was capable of such violence.
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— Courtney Love Cobain (@Courtney) June 25, 2015
Venture capitalist and Uber board member Shervin Pishevar was similarly perturbed.
Our driver had to speed under bridges in Paris because they were stoning the chauffeur cars (black cars) from the top of bridges #uberparis— Shervin Pishevar (@shervin) June 25, 2015
Uber has faced a great deal of opposition throughout the world as it's increasingly displaced transportation workers, but this is the most incendiary response to date.
An Uber spokesperson offered the following statement:
"Uber firmly condemns the recent acts of violence against Uber partners and their cars, perpetrated today in Paris and in other French cities; whatever the anger, violence is never acceptable. Uber wishes to underline the fact that no French court of justice has declared uberPOP illegal."
G7 taxi firm chief, Serge Metz, has also issued a comment, stating his regret that the situation had to come to this:
"We are truly sorry to have to hold clients and drivers hostage. We're not doing this lightly.”