Italian taxi drivers staged an angry demonstration before the parliament on Tuesday to protest against a draft legislation perceived as favoring Uber and other similar car-sharing and car-hiring services.

Meanwhile, taxi wildcat strikes entered their sixth day in the Italian capital, Milan, Naples, Turin and Genoa.

Several hundreds cab drivers from across the country gathered in the main square before the lower house since early morning. The protest was unauthorized, and anti-riot police officers were deployed around all of the major buildings in the area.

Minor scuffles between protesters and police took place near the headquarters of the ruling Democratic Party in the morning, according to the local media.

The protest was sparked by an amendment contained in a government’s wide decree that was currently under discussion in parliament. The provision, if definitively approved, would postpone the introduction of new norms to control car-sharing and car-hiring services from the next month to the end of this year.

Taxi drivers believe such prolonged lack of norms would damage the taxi industry, helping de-regulating the sector, and favoring app-based car transport solutions overall.

Supporters of the decree, however, think customers in Italy deserve to be offered a greater choice in terms of city transport services.

On Monday, major taxi unions had called on their members to put an end to the wildcat strikes, at least until a scheduled meeting with Italy’s Transport Minister Graziano Delrio which would take place on Tuesday. Their call, however, was not heard.

The sit-in and rally around the parliament, which lies in Rome historic center, caused disruption in the Italian capital on Tuesday. The halt of services to and from the major airports of Rome and Milan badly affected travelers as well in these days.

However, taxi services to and from hospitals and for disabled people is guaranteed in all cities throughout the strike.

The protest began on Feb. 15 when the Italian upper house started discussing the decree and widened in the following days. The package was passed by senators with 153 votes in favor and 99 against, and would now wait for the lower house’s green light.

Talks between taxi driver unions and minister Delrio are scheduled later on Tuesday. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh


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