Taxi drivers clash with police as strike heats up

Protesters vandalize ridesharing vehicles as major Barcelona roads blocked

Taxi driver wearing a yellow vest to protest against ridesharing companies (by Aina Martí)
Taxi driver wearing a yellow vest to protest against ridesharing companies (by Aina Martí) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

January 21, 2019 05:52 PM

Barcelona's striking taxi drivers marched through the city on Monday morning to put pressure on the Catalan government amidst the negotiations over the regulation of ridesharing companies, and clashed with the police in the port.  

At least six people were injured as a result of the clashes, four of which police officers. 

Protesters also vandalized several ridesharing vehicles, including slashing tires and pulling off covers of gas tanks.

Taxi drivers plan to continue their protest in front of the Catalan government headquarters.

A demonstration on Diagonal avenue, where ridesharing drivers are blocking various lanes of the same road, was called off as fears began to mount about the possibility of clashes between the two sides.

An emergency meeting was called for 8pm between president Quim Torra, territory minister Damià Calvet and interior minister Miquel Buch to discuss how to tackle the fractious situation, in particular the widespread protests and episodes of violence.

Opposition groups have accused the Catalan government of failing to address the situation.

Tensions at the gates of parliament

On Monday morning, taxi drivers began their protest in the iconic Catalunya square, went to the department of Economy and then moved to the parliament.

The Catalan police had closed Ciutadella park, where the chamber is located, to prevent the protesters from getting in. There was some tension between taxi drivers and officers outside the park's doors.

Ring road blockaded

Then the taxis headed to the city's port, and on their way they blockaded a part of Ronda Litoral ring road at Barceloneta.

In the port, they broke the Spanish Guardia Civil police cordon and clashed with some officers.

A big part of the city's Gran Via key road continues blockaded with their vehicles for the fourth day in a row.

Meanwhile, ridesharing drivers also stepped up their actions, blocking four lanes of the Diagonal avenue, also in the Catalan capital.

The Gran Via and Diagonal avenues are two of Barcelona's most important roads, and are both main routes in and out of the city.