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Taxis paralyse cities across Europe in Uber protest (pictures)

Taxi drivers brought several European cities to a standstill today in protest against controversial e-hailing app Uber. Click through the pictures to see how bad things got.

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Richard Trenholm
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1 of 57 Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

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.

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2 of 57 Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

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

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3 of 57 Rich Trenholm/CNET

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

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4 of 57 Oli Scarff/Getty Images

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.

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5 of 57 Rich Trenholm/CNET

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.

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6 of 57 Rich Trenholm/CNET

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

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7 of 57 Rich Trenholm/CNET

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

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8 of 57 Rich Trenholm/CNET

Police attempt to keep traffic moving.

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9 of 57 Rich Trenholm/CNET

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

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10 of 57 Rich Trenholm/CNET

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

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11 of 57 Rich Trenholm/CNET

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

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12 of 57 Rich Trenholm/CNET

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

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13 of 57 Rich Trenholm/CNET

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

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14 of 57 Rich Trenholm/CNET

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

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15 of 57 Rich Trenholm/CNET

Protestors with a message for London Mayor Boris Johnson.

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16 of 57 Rich Trenholm/CNET

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.

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17 of 57 Rich Trenholm/CNET

The demonstration saw thousands of taxis blockade streets.

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18 of 57 Rich Trenholm/CNET

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.

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19 of 57 Rich Trenholm/CNET

Protestors make their feelings plain about TFL.

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20 of 57 Rich Trenholm/CNET

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

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21 of 57 Rich Trenholm/CNET

The international news media were also out in force.

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22 of 57 Rich Trenholm/CNET

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.

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23 of 57 Rich Trenholm/CNET

Not all black cabs are black.

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24 of 57 Rich Trenholm/CNET

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

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25 of 57 Rich Trenholm/CNET

Hailo has been rebranded as Failo by angry cabbies.

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26 of 57 Rich Trenholm/CNET

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

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27 of 57 Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

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

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28 of 57 Rich Trenholm/CNET

Possibly not a real judge.

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29 of 57 Rich Trenholm/CNET

Coppers in choppers keep an eye on proceedings.

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30 of 57 Rich Trenholm/CNET

Best of British.

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31 of 57 Rich Trenholm/CNET

In less than an hour, the streets were gridlocked.

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32 of 57 Rich Trenholm/CNET

Luckily it's a nice day for a walk.

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33 of 57 Rich Trenholm/CNET

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

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34 of 57 Rich Trenholm/CNET

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

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35 of 57 Rich Trenholm/CNET

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

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36 of 57 Rich Trenholm/CNET

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

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37 of 57 FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

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).

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38 of 57 BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images

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

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39 of 57 BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images

Hope he packed light.

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40 of 57 BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images

Passengers forced to hoof it from Marignane airport.

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41 of 57 ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images

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.

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42 of 57 ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images

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

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43 of 57 RAYMOND ROIG/AFP/Getty Images

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

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44 of 57 JOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images

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

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45 of 57 JOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images

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

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46 of 57 Sean Gallup/Getty Images

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

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47 of 57 Sean Gallup/Getty Images

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

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48 of 57 Sean Gallup/Getty Images

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

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49 of 57 Sean Gallup/Getty Images

German drivers protest against apps like Wundercar and Uber.

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50 of 57 Sean Gallup/Getty Images

More drivers join the Tegel Airport demo.

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51 of 57 Sean Gallup/Getty Images

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.

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52 of 57 FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

Taxis drivers block the highway outside Paris, near Roissy.

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53 of 57 FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

Taxis drivers in France make their feelings known.

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54 of 57 FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

More cars join the protest outside Paris.

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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.

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

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57 of 57 Oli Scarff/Getty Images

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.

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