Protests by taxi drivers in Madrid, Spain, have entered their second week. Taxi drivers are protesting against the dominance of online ride-hailing apps like Uber and Cabify, and are asking authorities to regulate the sector. One video from the protests has gone viral on social media. It was filmed on January 28, and has since been shared thousands of times, with those posting it describing it, tongue-in-cheek, as a “brutal police aggression”.
"Brutal police aggression of a taxi driver in Madrid, difficult images".
The video shows the protest on the Paseo de la Castellana, one of the main arteries of the city in the north of the capital. In the video, a man wearing a bright red coat walks towards the crowd of protesters. A police officer follows him, talking to him, and when he fails to get his attention he pulls on his arm. The man in red turns and suddenly falls dramatically to the ground. The police officer raises his arms in disbelief. It’s unclear why he did this. Although the man is referred to on social media as a taxi driver, there is no indication whether he is or not.
"Brutal beating of a taxi driver by police in the paseo de la Castellana. Keep your eye on the one in red".
Many people are sharing the video on Twitter with sarcastic captions: ‘Brutal police aggression of a taxi driver in Madrid, difficult images’, or ‘Brutal beating of a taxi driver by police in the paseo de la Castellana.’
Others are comparing the man’s dramatic fall with that of football players pretending to be injured, with some asking, ‘Taxista o futbolista?’ – taxi driver or football player? One person suggested he should get a penalty and be expelled from the pitch.
"Recreation of how the National Police BRUTALLY ASSAULTED the taxi driver on the Castellana."
There have been violent clashes between police and protesters at the beginning of the strike, but authorities said that there was no violence on January 28.
At the beginning of the strike, more than 26,000 taxi drivers had stopped work. On January 28, more than 3,000 taxis blocked roads and avenues in the capital, with taxi drivers from other regions of Spain coming to the capital to join the protest. Anti-riot police and tow trucks eventually cleared the blockade.
Taxi drivers in Barcelona ended their strike last week after Catalonia’s authorities made changes to regulation around the ride-hailing apps – ruling that they could not be hailed in the street and that they can only be booked a short time in advance.