Taxi drivers in Mexico came out to protest against popular taxi service Uber on 29 July, accusing the company of stealing their business. The protests came just one day after various Uber vehicles were violently attacked by a group of armed men in Mexico City.
Earlier this month Mexico City became the first city in Latin America to regulate Uber, announcing rules including a 1.5% ride levy, a yearly permit fee and a minimum vehicle value. The move has angered local taxi drivers, who say the local government has caved in to the demands of the San Francisco-based company.
"We're here in front of this embassy to show our support and protest the global discontent from legal taxi unions who are against these transnational firms. They perpetuate a crime each time they transport a passenger," said Ignacio Rodriguez, a representative of a taxi organisation in Mexico City.
On 28 July, various Uber vehicles operating near Mexico City's international airport were attacked. Those behind the attacks accused Uber of operating from taxi stands designated for traditional cabs authorised by the government. No Uber drivers or passengers were hurt in the attacks.
Lorena Villarreal, communications manager for Uber in Latin America, vehemently condemned the attacks and called on all parties to engage in dialogue to resolve differences.
"What happened yesterday was a very serious incident that we condemn. Violence is unacceptable. We invite everyone to have a dialogue and we're open to working with authorities and taxi associations to benefit citizens," she said.
Villarreal added that the car-hailing app is still operating as normal in other Latin American countries.
"In Brazil we continue to operate normally, the same in Colombia. We know that new technology can be disruptive in cities and normally technology advances more rapidly than regulations. So, this is why we're completely open to working with the government so that their regulation places citizens as the priority and benefits everyone," she said.
According to Uber, Mexico City is the largest city in the world to regulate ride-hailing apps and is one of its biggest markets. In the Mexican capital alone there are some 10,000 drivers on the road and half a million registered users.