Taxis line up on The Mall, the London thoroughfare leading to Buckingham Palace, during a protest by drivers against the smartphone app Uber.

Uber, which lets you hire and pay for a car from your phone or tablet, has faced opposition for its service in virtually every city it has chosen to operate in, with local taxi drivers seeing it as a threat to their business. Up until now, you could hire a private hire vehicle like a minicab or limo through Uber, but Wednesday in London it has added the option of hiring a taxi with a new UberTAXI service.

Published:
Photo by: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images / Caption by:

London's licensed black taxi drivers argue there is a lack of regulation behind the new app.

Published:
Photo by: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images / Caption by:

Drivers in London faced a long wait as cabbies gathered in the tourist heartland of the city just after lunchtime.

Published:
Photo by: Rich Trenholm/CNET / Caption by:

The offending app: smartphone app Uber enables users to hail private hire cars from any location. The controversial piece of software, which is opposed by established taxi drivers, currently serves more than 100 cities in 37 countries.

Published:
Photo by: Oli Scarff/Getty Images / Caption by:

As cabs filled the streets of London's West End, traffic began to grind to a halt. Not that you'd be able to tell the difference.

Published:
Photo by: Rich Trenholm/CNET / Caption by:

Cabs line Trafalgar Square under the watchful gaze of British naval hero Lord Nelson atop Nelson's Column.

Published:
Photo by: Rich Trenholm/CNET / Caption by:

As the demonstration began, black cabs of every colour began to move slowly through the West End.

Published:
Photo by: Rich Trenholm/CNET / Caption by:

Police attempt to keep traffic moving.

Published:
Photo by: Rich Trenholm/CNET / Caption by:

The demonstration was organised by the London Taxi Drivers' Association.

Published:
Photo by: Rich Trenholm/CNET / Caption by:

With the famous tower containing Big Ben in the distance, taxis bring the West End to a halt.

Published:
Photo by: Rich Trenholm/CNET / Caption by:

This traffic light on Whitehall may as well take the next couple of hours off.

Published:
Photo by: Rich Trenholm/CNET / Caption by:

The protest was aimed at Transport for London, the city's transit authority that regulates taxis and private hire services, including Uber.

Published:
Photo by: Rich Trenholm/CNET / Caption by:

Cabbies aren't opposed to technology or apps in general, with GetTaxi among the e-hailing apps getting the thumbs-up from drivers.

Published:
Photo by: Rich Trenholm/CNET / Caption by:

Demonstrators believe that Transport for London (TfL), the city's transportation agency, has let them down by allowing Uber to operate.

Published:
Photo by: Rich Trenholm/CNET / Caption by:

Protestors with a message for London Mayor Boris Johnson.

Published:
Photo by: Rich Trenholm/CNET / Caption by:

A show of solidarity from the The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT), best known to Londoners for a recent string of tube strikes.

Published:
Photo by: Rich Trenholm/CNET / Caption by:

The demonstration saw thousands of taxis blockade streets.

Published:
Photo by: Rich Trenholm/CNET / Caption by:

Within less than half an hour after the demonstration's appointed start time -- or more accurately, stop time -- slow-moving traffic had turned into stationary traffic.

Published:
Photo by: Rich Trenholm/CNET / Caption by:

Protestors make their feelings plain about TFL.

Published:
Photo by: Rich Trenholm/CNET / Caption by:

A large police presence kept an eye on things, but the atmosphere was peaceful.

Published:
Photo by: Rich Trenholm/CNET / Caption by:

The international news media were also out in force.

Published:
Photo by: Rich Trenholm/CNET / Caption by:

Many cabbies also expressed dissatisfaction with another e-hailing app Hailo, which three weeks ago angered black cab drivers by adding private hire vehicles to its service.

Published:
Photo by: Rich Trenholm/CNET / Caption by:

Not all black cabs are black.

Published:
Photo by: Rich Trenholm/CNET / Caption by:

Cabbies train for years studying "The Knowledge," designed to etch every London streets into their brains.

Published:
Photo by: Rich Trenholm/CNET / Caption by:

Hailo has been rebranded as Failo by angry cabbies.

Published:
Photo by: Rich Trenholm/CNET / Caption by:

The only way you'll see anything more London today is if you pass out in a bowl of jellied eels.

Published:
Photo by: Rich Trenholm/CNET / Caption by:

Cabbies, journalists, and curious tourists mingle in the streets around Trafalgar Square.

Published:
Photo by: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images / Caption by:

Possibly not a real judge.

Published:
Photo by: Rich Trenholm/CNET / Caption by:

Coppers in choppers keep an eye on proceedings.

Published:
Photo by: Rich Trenholm/CNET / Caption by:

Best of British.

Published:
Photo by: Rich Trenholm/CNET / Caption by:

In less than an hour, the streets were gridlocked.

Published:
Photo by: Rich Trenholm/CNET / Caption by:

Luckily it's a nice day for a walk.

Published:
Photo by: Rich Trenholm/CNET / Caption by:

The ranks of the protestors were swelled by scooter-riding trainee taxi drivers, or "Knowledge Boys."

Published:
Photo by: Rich Trenholm/CNET / Caption by:

London's Waterloo Bridge was backed up too. Those buses aren't going anywhere.

Published:
Photo by: Rich Trenholm/CNET / Caption by:

Taxi drivers gather next to the Olympia Stadium in Berlin, Germany, to protest ride-sharing apps.

Published:
Photo by: Rich Trenholm/CNET / Caption by:

Police managed to keep Trafalgar Square itself clear, but streets for miles around weren't so lucky.

Published:
Photo by: Rich Trenholm/CNET / Caption by:

The London demonstration coincided with protests across Europe, such as here near Paris, France. French drivers slowed down to protest against the growing number of minicabs, known in France as Voitures de Tourisme avec Chauffeurs (VTC).

Published:
Photo by: FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images / Caption by:

Passengers walk to Marignane airport in France after taxi drivers block the roads.

Published:
Photo by: BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images / Caption by:

Hope he packed light.

Published:
Photo by: BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images / Caption by:

Passengers forced to hoof it from Marignane airport.

Published:
Photo by: BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images / Caption by:

This Italian taxi driver's vest reads "Don't take an illegal taxi, take a white regular taxi" at another demo, this time in Rome.

Published:
Photo by: ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images / Caption by:

Italian drivers are unhappy with the growing number of minicabs and private hire cars, known in Italy as Car rental with driver (NCC).

Published:
Photo by: ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images / Caption by:

Taxis drivers block the A9 highway heading to Spain at the toll gate of Le Boulou, outside Paris.

Published:
Photo by: RAYMOND ROIG/AFP/Getty Images / Caption by:

A taxi precedes demonstrators holding a banner during a strike action in protest of unlicensed taxi-type services in Barcelona, Spain.

Published:
Photo by: JOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images / Caption by:

Spanish taxi drivers hold a banner decrying "illegal" apps.

Published:
Photo by: JOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images / Caption by:

German taxi drivers gather next to the Olympia Stadium  in Berlin.

Published:
Photo by: Sean Gallup/Getty Images / Caption by:

Berlin taxis are beige. Not quite as iconic as London's black or New York's yellow, but there you go.

Published:
Photo by: Sean Gallup/Getty Images / Caption by:

Disgruntled drivers gather at Berlin's Tegel Airport. Approximately 1,000 taxis registered to participate in the protest.

Published:
Photo by: Sean Gallup/Getty Images / Caption by:

German drivers protest against apps like Wundercar and Uber.

Published:
Photo by: Sean Gallup/Getty Images / Caption by:

More drivers join the Tegel Airport demo.

Published:
Photo by: Sean Gallup/Getty Images / Caption by:

Not everyone agrees with the cabbies: here, supporters of online ride-sharing apps hold up signs demanding an end to the taxi monopoly at a demonstration near Berlin's Olympia Stadium.

Published:
Photo by: Sean Gallup/Getty Images / Caption by:

Taxis drivers block the highway outside Paris, near Roissy.

Published:
Photo by: FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images / Caption by:

Taxis drivers in France make their feelings known.

Published:
Photo by: FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images / Caption by:

More cars join the protest outside Paris.

Published:
Photo by: FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images / Caption by:

While a large majority of the protest took place in Europe, there were also demonstrations around the world.

In Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, a day before the World Cup was set to begin, Taxi drivers and their supporters staged a small rally and partial road blockage as drivers protest Uber.

Published:
Photo by: Joe Raedle/Getty Images / Caption by:

A police officer in Rio de Janeiro speaks with taxi drivers blocking traffic, asking them to move their vehicles.

Published:
Photo by: Joe Raedle/Getty Images / Caption by:

Transport for London is referring Uber to Britain's High Court in an attempt to secure legal backing for its decision to allow Uber to operate. But with Uber and other e-hailing apps causing a storm of controversy in many cities around the world, it seems this story still has a long way to go.

Published:
Photo by: Oli Scarff/Getty Images / Caption by:
Hot Galleries

Last-minute gift ideas

Under pressure? These will deliver on time

With plenty of top-notch retailers offering digital gifts, you still have time to salvage your gift-giving reputation.

Hot Products