ROME | Thousands of Italian taxi drivers protesting legislation they say will favor Uber clashed with riot police Tuesday, intensifying a weeklong cab strike that has crippled transportation in Rome, Milan and Turin.
The cabbies marched through Rome and protested in front of parliament, at the headquarters of the ruling Democratic Party and finally at the infrastructure ministry, where officials were meeting with union representatives to try to work out a settlement.
The six-day strike has stranded tourists at Italy’s main airports and train stations, complicated daily commutes and raised alarms about Wednesday’s start of Milan Fashion Week, when cabs are in high demand to shuttle fashionistas from show to show.
The drivers say the legislation would ease Uber’s “irregular” inroads into Italy’s rigidly regulated taxi industry, where drivers pay huge fees for the right to drive a cab. Supporters say Italian consumers want and need greater choice in ride-sharing options.
Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi lent her support to the cabbies by visiting the protest Tuesday and saying that her 5-Star Movement had already proposed amendments to change the legislation.
The bill postpones until the end of the year norms regulating the car-hire market.