French taxi drivers' protest turns violent, upsetting Courtney Love
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French taxi unions refused to go to a meeting at the office of Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Thursday as their strike against the Uber company saw roads blockaded and cars attacked. Rock star Courtney Love fired off an angry tweet to President François Hollande after being caught in the protests.
Taxi drivers' unions unanimously agreed not to go to the meeting at Valls's office because the prime minister himself, who was on a visit to Colombia, would not be present.
They also dismissed Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve's order to officials to ban Uber in Paris as "not enough".
Technically Uber is already illegal because its drivers are untrained and do not pay tax or social security contributions and a case against the company is in the works.
The unions want its UberPop app to be disabled.
Strikers blocked roads and access to airports and railway stations in Paris and provincial cities on Thursday and several violent incidents were reported.
On the Paris ringroad police intervened when two vans were attacked and in another incident a driver was dragged from his car, its tyres were slashed and it was set on fire.
At least three taxi drivers were arrested, as were two minicab drivers, who drove at blockades, knocking over protesters, and a motorcycle-taxi rider who sprayed a striker's car with teargas.
Rocker Courtney Love took the French president to task in a tweet, claiming that strikers had "ambushed our car and are holding our driver hostage", adding "I'm safer in Baghdad."
"François Hollande where are the fucking police??? is it legal for your people to attack visitors? Get your ass to the airport. Wtf???" she exclaimed in a message that was retweeted nearly 4,000 times on Thursday afternoon.
Kurt Cobain's widow also sent out a photo of her car, which shows some thick yellowish liquid that had apparently been thrown on the vehicle's exterior by protesters.
"Paid some guys on motorcycles to sneak us out, got chased by a mob of taxi drivers who threw rocks, passed two police and they did nothing," Love wrote in a later tweet.