Bogotá: taxistas revolt against Uber
Hundreds of taxi drivers from across Colombia converged on Bogotá March 14, clogging the streets and blocking intersections to demand the government ban Uber. Streams of slow-moving yellow cabs, many sporting with the Colombian tri-color flag finally joined in a caravan that ended in a mass rally at the Plaza de Bolívar. A handful of taxi drivers were arrested for forcing passengers out of cabs and other infractions, and a dozen vehicles impounded. At least one Uber driver's vehicle was reportedly damaged. The mobilization, dubbed "M-14," was joined by labor unions, students, miners, truckers and campesinos both in the capital and in solidarity protests around the country. Opposition to President Juan Manuel Santos' austerity program was also a part of the mobilization's demands.
Uber is banned outright in most of Western Europe. In Australia, it is popular but of dubious legality, with several court challenges pending. In California, a class action suit could force the company to treat its drivers as employees. Despite setbacks, Uber is in some 60 countries around the world. (EuroNews, March 15; Colombia Reports, City Paper, Bogotá, March 14)