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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Facing crackdown, Uber drivers’ turn to protest

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Uber drivers confront government officials, police and taxi drivers at the government palace. Photo: El Universal

Mérida, Yucatán — The arrest of an outlawed ride-sharing driver yesterday sparked a spontaneous protest on the Plaza Grande.

Nearly 200 Uber drivers protested before the Government Palace demanding that the “hunt be stopped” by the State Police.

Forming a caravan that began on the eastern Periférico, moving to the north of the city and down the Prolongacíon de Paseo de Montejo until reaching the Centro Histórico.

Uber drivers parked more than 150 cars in front of the government building and around the Plaza Grande, shouting “let us work!”

After a brief talk with a guard, five protestors were granted permission to enter and discuss their grievances with a state official. Reporters were not allowed access to the meeting.

After two hours, no resolution was announced, but both sides agreed to continue dialog on Tuesday.

El Universal reported a physical confrontation in which protestors hit a state police car, breaking a side mirror. Some protestors kicked taxicabs passing by, according to the newspaper. A tourist policeman, caught recording license plate numbers, was reportedly chased away.

According to El Diario de Yucatán, Uber drivers confronted a person photographing the protest, forcing him to delete his photos. They apparently feared he was a spy for either the taxi union or the government. He possessed no media credentials, and the photographer never revealed his identity, according to the news account.

One driver told the media that his car, and about 20 others, are missing since state police seized it. The state police tow yard tells him they do not have the vehicle.

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