The roads of central Jakarta may usually blocked by Indonesia’s infamous traffic but they were blocked for a more sinister reason on Tuesday, as a protest by taxi drivers looking to ban ride-hailing apps in the city turned violent.
While three-wheelers paraded through the streets flying Indonesian flags and large signs calling for services like Uber and GrabTaxi to be banned, drivers with the listed taxi operator, Bluebird, flooded the streets, writes Avantika Chilkoti in Jakarta.
Footage on local television channels and on social media shows mobs of uniformed drivers jumping on the cars of other Bluebird drivers who were not taking part in the protest.
The violence is the latest chapter in a prolonged conflict between Indonesia’s established taxi operators and popular new ride-hailing apps.
The Organization of Land Transportation Owners (Organda), a Jakarta-based association,last year filed a complaint with the police claiming the businesses are illegal given they operate without a taxi licence.
In December, President Joko Widodo intervened publicly, ordering the transport ministry to allow players like Uber and GrabTaxi to operate, recognising that these new businesses provide an important solution in a city where public transport infrastructure is poor.
“Innovations in both two and four-wheel transportation exist because they are needed by the people,” President Widodo wrote on Facebook at the time. “Don’t let rules that haven’t kept up with the development of technology make people suffer.”