CHAOS broke out on the already-crowded main streets of Jakarta today when taxi drivers protested against what they see as the invasion of ride-hailing apps Uber and Grab.
What was supposed to be a peaceful protest this morning turned ugly, as thousands of protesters took to the streets and have been seen attacking fellow taxi drivers who refused to join the demonstration.
Taxi drivers under the Blue Bird Group have emerged as the worst instigators of violence in the protest, with most of the photos and videos of the ruckus being shared across social media depicting drivers wearing the Blue Bird uniform:
— bayu oktara (@bayuoktara) March 22, 2016
“It shouldn’t get to the point where they’re forcing mothers carrying their children to get down at a toll road!”
Seragam biru merusak taksi biru (via Sunu) pic.twitter.com/ogiWriWRKF
— Diki Satya (@diksat) March 22, 2016
“Blue Bird drivers in uniform destroy another Blue Bird taxi.”
Gojek drivers, who use motorbikes, are also being beaten up:
— Joko Anwar (@jokoanwar) March 22, 2016
“A Gojek driver being beaten.”
Earlier this month, a similar protest took place, which saw some 2,000 taxi and Bajaj drivers gathered in downtown Jakarta.
Resentment against the popular apps, as well as local company Gojek, has been building up, as licensed taxi drivers claim that the presence of the apps have eaten away at their clientele.
According to the drivers, they can’t compete with Uber and Grab drivers, who don’t face the same costs and regulations as regular taxis. Protesters are demanding either a blanket ban on the apps or similar regulations and standards being enforced on the apps’ drivers.
Part of the anger stems from the Indonesian government’s vacillation on the issue – in November last year, they had announced a ban on all app-based ride-hailing services. However, the decision was overturned by President Joko Widodo less than 24 hours after the announcement.