Local Taxi Drivers Bring KL Traffic To A Halt As They Protest Against Uber And GrabCar

About 300 taxi drivers gathered in front of Pavilion Shopping Centre in Kuala Lumpur this morning.

Cover image via Joshua Eriksson Zen

Some 300 taxi drivers had gathered together to stage a protest against ride-sharing apps Uber and GrabCar in front of Pavilion Shopping Centre in Kuala Lumpur this morning

The demonstration began at 10am, with taxi drivers occupying the street along Jalan Bukit Bintang, near the Pavillion Mall, by parking their vehicles by the roadside.

The group is particularly unhappy with the Land Public Transport Commission (Spad) and its chief, Syed Hamid Albar, and they demanded that he be replaced.

Traffic police responded by blocking the surrounding roads to prevent more taxis from entering the protest area.

The protest had brought traffic to a standstill around the vicinity

The protest was shortlived as police moved in and arrested at least five taxi drivers about two hours later, after the group of protesters failed to disperse by 12 noon

Police spoke to the head of the protest group at 11.30am, advising the crowd to disperse.

Among those who were detained by police was Malaysian Taxi Driver Transformation Association deputy president Kamarudin Mohd Hussain.

"We were there to protest against Uber and GrabCar," Kamarudin told The Star via mobile phone as he was taken by the police in front of Pavilion.

Protests against ride-hailing apps have been prevalent in various parts of the world recently.

Just last week, protest against Uber by thousands of taxi drivers in Jakarta took a violent turn as drivers attacked each other.

Tyres were set on fire along the road in one part of the capital.

Image via BBC

Taxis were completely blocking the road in some areas of the capital.

Image via Reuters

Taxi drivers on strike clash with motorcycle ride-sharing app drivers.

Image via Reuters

The protesters blocked roads outside the parliament, the city administration offices and the ministry of communication, causing massive traffic jams. Tyres were set on fire in at least one location.

It was the second major protest by taxi drivers in Jakarta this month. They say competition from ride-hailing apps, which don’t face the same costs and rules as regular taxis, has severely reduced their income. Many of the drivers come to Jakarta from other parts of Indonesia and support their families as taxi drivers.

Beyond South East Asia, taxi drivers from countries like London, Italy and Brazil, have also staged protests against the use of the Uber application in their respective countries

Black cabs fill the streets around Trafalgar Square in central London on 10 February, 2016.

Image via Andy Rain/EPA

An Italian taxi driver lights a flare as he takes part in an anti-Uber protest in Rome, Italy, on 10 September, 2015.

Image via Giuseppe Ciccia/Barcroft

Taxis are seen parked on the street during a protest against the online car-sharing service Uber in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil, on 9 September, 2015.

Image via Paulo Whitaker/Reuters

Closer to home, protests against private hire vehicle companies have also been rampant in Malaysia in the last year:

Last week, the unusual heavy rain in the morning caused massive traffic congestion in Klang Valley:

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