Thousands of Italian taxi drivers protesting against legislation they say will favour Uber have clashed with riot police during a week-long strike that has crippled transportation in Rome, Milan and Turin.
The cabbies marched through the capital and protested in front of parliament, at the headquarters of the ruling Democratic Party and at the infrastructure ministry, where officials were meeting 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 the start of Milan Fashion Week on Wednesday, 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 on 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.