Dozens of taxis drivers surrounded the police transport building at Avenida de Sidónio Pais in Macau on Thursday evening to protest “selective law enforcement and abuse of power” by the police.
The incident was triggered when a police officer gave a traffic ticket to a taxi driver who violated passenger pickup and drop-off regulations at the The Venetian Macao Resort Hotel, Macao Daily News reported. A dispute broke out between the two and the police took the driver away and detained him for six hours.
Many cabbies then drove their vehicles to the traffic building and occupied roads to demonstrate support for the detained driver and to protest, Ming Pao reported. At the height of the demonstrations, there were around 50 drivers and 50 taxis, Oriental Daily reported.
The protest resulted in traffic congestion and special officers were deployed. One driver fell onto the ground and had to be sent to the hospital. The police then began removing the demonstrators and vehicles from the scene.
The detained driver was released after an hour and other protesters gradually scattered. Some drivers then went to the SAR’s China Liaison Office to stage a sit-in before leaving at around 2am.
The Macau police said that the drivers caused a nuisance to residents living in the neighbourhood by sounding their horns and affecting traffic. They urged protesters to express their wishes using peaceful and rational means and said they would continue to crackdown on taxi violations.
A taxi driver told RTHK that ever since the economic reforms in Macau, new taxi licences have been regularly handed out, which made business difficult. Others said that during the amendment of regulations on taxis, the executive branch bypassed the legislature and the industry was not given an opportunity to express their views.