France’s interior minister has ordered a ban on the low-cost car-sharing service UberPOP after a day of nationwide protests by taxi drivers.
Bernard Cazeneuve said the service was “illegal” and ordered police and prosecutors to enforce its closure.
His announcement followed a day of violent protests by French taxi drivers, who say the US-based firm Uber is stealing their livelihoods.
Blockades caused traffic jams around Paris and its airports while protests were also staged in cities including Marseilles, Aix-en-Provence, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Lyons.
Aeroports de Paris, the operator of the French capital’s Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports, warned passengers to travel by train, saying “access by road is completely blocked.”
Taxi drivers also blocked access to Marseille and Aix train stations and protested on the main access to Marseilles-Provence airport.
Some cars were overturned and others had their windows smashed.
Taxi owners and union leaders said they had been left with no option but to stage protests after the state had failed to enforce a law passed last autumn that outlawed paid chauffeuring by non-professional drivers.
Uber says it has the right to continue work pending an appeal against the law banning its POP service which is likely to be heard in the autumn.
An Uber spokesman, quoted by the Times, said: “There are people who are willing to do anything to stop any competition. We are only the symptom of a badly organised market.”
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