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16 arrested in Colombian taxi driver protest against Uber

Bogota Taxis Colombia

Sixteen people have been arrested during a major demonstration by Bogota taxi drivers against ride-sharing app Uber, authorities said.

Thousands of taxi drivers, shouting slogans such as “Uber out” and “Down with piracy” brought traffic to a near standstill in the congested Colombian capital.

Authorities arrested 16 people and issued 189 fines. Four police officers were injured.

“This protest wouldn’t have happened if the government wasn’t so permissive and had forced Uber out of the country,” said Freddy Contreras, a spokesman for the taxi drivers.

As in other major cities in the world, cabbies in Bogota are opposed to Uber, the California-based company that operates in 59 countries and is valued at more than $50 billion.

Last week, the authority overseeing public transportation in Colombia fined Uber 450 million pesos (about $142,000) for providing “unauthorized” transportation services.

Colombia is a major Latin American market for Uber.

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