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Uber defiant in the face of French ridesharing crackdown

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French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve today launched a legal action to permanently shut down UberPOP, Uber's non-professional ride service, according to Reuters. The move follows a protest against UberPOP by as many as 3,000 taxi drivers that crippled large sections of the city and both airports. Seven police officers were injured, 70 vehicles damaged and 10 people arrested during the rally. Yesterday, French authorities ordered police to ban UberPOP and seize driver's cars if necessary. However, Uber's general manager in France replied that the measures "changed nothing," and that UberPOP would continue to operate.

Though President Francois Hollande called the taxi protest violence "unacceptable," he saved the bulk of his rancor for Uber, saying "UberPop should be dissolved and declared illegal." Today, Cazeneuve said that the company's attitude was "arrogant," and added that any more statements by Uber managers telling drivers to ignore the ban are "a criminal offense." However, the status of UberPOP in France is not so cut-and-dry. While the government declared the service illegal earlier this year, an appeals court has said that, pending a final decision in September, Uber could continue to offer UberPOP on its app.

For its part, Uber has complained that the government has buckled to the violent protesters and interfered with the normal course of justice. (Uber continues to legally operate its UberX and UberBLACK services using professional drivers in France.) The protests have now petered down to a small minority of drivers, according to The Local, and with a new terrorist attack today in France, the Interior Ministry has more serious matters to deal with.

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