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Taxis strike across Spain to protest Uber, Cabify services

People march and drive taxis during a protest called by the main Spanish taxi drivers unions in Madrid, Tuesday, May 30, 2017. Taxi drivers across Spain are striking to protest the increase in cars run by private companies offering cheaper, mobile ride-hailing services. The small placard reads in Spanish: "For a respectable and professional taxi". (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

MADRID (AP) — Taxi drivers across Spain set off firecrackers and threw objects at police Tuesday as they went on strike to protest the increase in cars run by private companies like Uber that offer cheaper, mobile ride-hailing services.

Travelers arriving at Madrid’s or Barcelona’s airports and train stations found none of the usual lines of taxis waiting to pick them up.

The strike was directed against the San Francisco-headquartered Uber and Madrid-based Cabify services.

Unions claim these companies flout a law that stipulates there should be one private company vehicle for every 30 taxis and promote unfair competition.

Thousands of taxi drivers staged a demonstration in central Madrid at noon, with some setting off firecrackers and hurling plastic bottles of water and eggs at police cordoning off access to Parliament. Some brief scuffles with police also occurred but there were no immediate reports of arrests or injuries.

Eduardo Martin, president of Unauto VTC association representing both private companies, said there had been more than 30 acts of aggression against their cars and accused taxi drivers of acting with impunity.

The strike was to last from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Madrid while in Barcelona it was due to end at midnight.

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