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Montreal taxi drivers target airport as part of Uber protest

Taxi drivers wait in front of the courthouse as representatives deposit a request for an injunction against the ride-sharing company Uber on Feb. 2 in Montreal.

Ryan Remiorz/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Montreal taxi and limousine drivers targeted the city's airport Wednesday as part of their protest against against Uber.

A statement by the taxi industry said 800 cab drivers and owners were headed to Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport.

No flights were disrupted by the protest.

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A spokesman for the cabbies, Benoit Jugand, said Uber is allowed to operate at the airport, even though the taxi industry has a $2.5-million contract with the agency that runs the facility.

"We have to send a mesaage: Uber is not welcome in Quebec," Jugand told a news conference at the airport. "We have laws that are clear and we want them to be respected...The people who work in the taxi industry, mothers and fathers, are people who respect laws.

"We hope the premier understands the message we're sending today. Because, if not, they (the protests) will continue and be bigger each time.

Other protests were set for elsewhere in the city later in the day.

The Quebec branch of the United Steelworkers union, which represents many Montreal taxi drivers, wants to pressure the province into forcing Uber to stop operating during upcoming legislative inquiry into the taxi industry.

Last week the Quebec government announced it would create a commission to look into ways of integrating new technological entrants into the highly regulated taxi business.

Taxi drivers say the government hasn't done enough to clamp down on Uber drivers, who they say have been undercutting fares and operating outside the law.

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Jugand said his members wouldn't take the population hostage by blocking access to hospitals or bridges.

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