Several roads in Brussels were snarled up and car access to the airport was temporarily blocked early Wednesday, the Belga news agency reported, as taxi drivers launched a day of protest against the Uber car-sharing service.
Uber was first launched in the United States, but now operates in cities around the world. It has run into legal trouble in several countries amid opposition from established transport firms.
Taxi operators expected about 1,000 vehicles from Belgium and other EU countries to take part in the protest, which is to pass through the Belgian capital and finish in the city’s European quarter, where the commission and other EU institutions are based.
Public transport services in Brussels warned that bus routes could be affected by the protest, while the international airport posted an alert on its website for anyone arriving by car.
Several people had to walk the final stretch to the airport when the road was blocked, police told Belga.
Belgian taxi drivers have accused the service of unfair competition and undercutting prices, threatening their business. They are demanding to meet with Finance Minister Johan Van Overtvelt and representatives of the European Commission on the issue.
The commission – the European Union’s executive – is looking into a complaint by Uber regarding legislative action taken in France and Germany against its services, which it argues are being treated unfairly.
Uber runs services in several European cities, including UberPop – which enables private car owners to pick up paying passengers – and Uber Black, which provides upscale cars and uniformed drivers.