Uber announces suspension of UberPOP in France

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 03, 2015 5:50 AM

PARIS (Reuters) - Uber Technologies will suspend its UberPOP ride-hailing service in France, the U.S. company said on Friday, after it faced often-violent protests and the authorities denounced it as an illegal taxi service.

France last week ordered a nationwide clampdown on the service and two executives from California-based Uber will face trial in France on Sept. 30. Licenced French taxi drivers argue it threatens their livelihood with unfair competition.

"We have decided to suspend UberPOP in France from 1800 GMT (1400 EDT) this Friday evening, primarily to assure the safety of Uber drivers," the newspaper Le Monde quoted Uber France head Thibaud Simphal as saying, adding some drivers had been targets of violence.

"The second reason is that we want to create a spirit of reconciliation and dialogue with public authorities to show we are acting responsibly," he said.

In a June 25 protest in numerous French cities, cabbies blocked roads to the capital's airports, overturned cars and burned tires to press for the scheme to be abolished.

Police said 70 cars were damaged and seven police officials injured in the protests. Ten people were arrested.

The protests were among the fiercest in a series of strikes and other demonstrations across Europe against San Francisco-based Uber, whose backers include investment bank Goldman Sachs <GS.N> and technology giant Google <GOOGL.O>.

It is valued in excess of $40 billion.

(Reporting by Mark John; editing by Dominique Vidalon, Larry King)