Tens of thousands of taxi drivers in South Korea protested in front of the National Assembly Thursday, calling for a ban on Kakao Mobility’s ride-sharing service.
The app was set to move from beta testing to full operation this month, but the company put those plans on indefinite hold after a taxi driver self-immolated in protest in front of the National Assembly and later died.
Taxi industry and labor groups waved banners and held up photos of the deceased driver near the legislature, complaining that such ride-sharing apps pose a direct threat to the livelihood of taxi industry workers.
At least four taxi industry and labor groups took part in the rally, the third of its kind in the past three months. Police estimated 40-to-50-thousand were on the streets.
The Seoul demonstration was part of a broader strike by taxi drivers nationwide that forced many commuters and travelers to seek alternative transportation.
Protesters are demanding lawmakers ban commercial mobile carpool programs, and do more to improve labor conditions of the country's taxi drivers, many of whom are behind the wheel because they were made redundant from other, more stable employment positions.