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Taxi-drivers protest goes from sublime to ridiculous

Yesterday’s hours of confusion involving taxi drivers purportedly protesting about ‘unfair competition’ from smartphone App operators Uber and Cabify, have left the country in confusion.

What was the protest really about? Was it progress? Was it competition? Was it laws, which as one furious taxi driver thundered, “are like virgins, they need to be raped”.

With the day descending into Trump-like lunacy, it appears that much of the vandalism registered came from known agitators from a group called “No Name Boys” that has a history with Lisbon police.

In the midst of the controversy is the case of a man who, for no apparent reason, appears to have fallen off the viaduct above the roundabout near the airport where protestors were grouped.

The 47-year-old is in a critical condition now in hospital.

Meantime, a former employee of one of the union bosses involved in yesterday’s fruitless talks with environment minister Matos Fernandes, claims his ex-employer “does not pay his taxes”, runs passenger transports that are not properly licensed and fails to pay his social security contributions.

Florêncio Almeida, needless to say, has said this is “all lies”.

Despite vowing they would camp outside parliament until they got what they wanted, the thousands of taxi drivers who formed yesterday’s demonstration more or less all moved on of their own accord last night, after PSP police arrived to tow their vehicles away.

For a more detail analysis of a day in which holidaymakers arriving at the airport could have mistaken Portugal for a country in anarchy, see our cover story in this week’s Algarve Resident.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com