Dozens of Uber drivers protested in Costa Rica on Tuesday and blocked traffic demanding the right to work. The protest came in the midst of police operations that prevent them from providing their service.
“The people choose, we just want to work,” read one of the banners. They were fighting back against pressure that taxi drivers are exerting on authorities to stop rideshare services like Uber.
A group of about 70 people blocked traffic, while others conducted a sit-in in front of the Casa Presidencial to demand a meeting with President Carlos Alvarado. Some taxi drivers in the area threw rocks and shouted insults at the demonstrators, who arrived without their vehicles to avoid being fined.
“We want the police operations to stop and the legalization [of Uber],” Marvin Castro, a driver who participated in the demonstration, told reporters. His colleague Eduardo Delgado said that 30 of the 57 lawmakers supported the bill that legalizes the operation of Uber and other ridesharing platforms.
In recent weeks the transit police have launched operations against Uber-drivers, after large demonstrations of traditional taxi drivers, who have seen demand for their service drop.
Uber has become popular in Costa Rica for its lower prices and the convenience of ordering rides through mobile devices, which is safer for users.
Driver Elena Chinchilla criticized the government for refusing to receive the protesters and warned that some of them are willing to sleep at the protest until the president agrees to meet with them.