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Taxi chief quizzed over Uber 'attack'

Driver for ride-sharing service claims he was assaulted while picking up passenger at Nice airport

THE HEAD of a union representing taxi drivers on the Riviera has been questioned over an alleged attack on a driver working for the rival ride-sharing firm Uber.

The Alpes-Maritimes préfecture confirmed to local media that Alain Trapani was arrested at Nice airport and questioned on Friday over "gang assault". He was freed a day later and will appear in court on July 2.

An Uber driver, who had arrived at the airport to pick up a passenger, lodged a formal complaint claiming a group of drivers surrounded and assaulted him, slashing all of his car tyres in full view of his "shocked" customer.

The claim comes amid an ongoing dispute between licensed taxi drivers around France and mini-cab operators, called VTC (voitures de tourisme avec chauffeur).

Taxi drivers reacted to news of the arrest by putting up a blockade at the access road to Nice airport, slowing down cars. About 60 drivers demonstrated outside the police station.

Mr Trapani is due to meet representatives at the préfecture later this week to discuss taxi drivers' concerns about Uber. The meeting was set up before his arrest.

Uber puts members of the public in touch with others who want to offer car rides for payment, using a smartphone app.

The interior ministry has said the service is "not only illegal, but frankly dangerous". Several taxi driver groups around France have staged go-slow protests against the service.

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