French taxi drivers join protests over Uber drivers

FRENCH taxi drivers have disrupted traffic across the country in a protest against Uber and other non-licensed private hire cab operators.

The drivers' strike action on Tuesday - which blocked access to major airports and railway stations - coincided with protests by air traffic controllers, hospital workers, farmers, teachers and other public sector employees over wages, working conditions and the broader economy.

With taxi drivers in western Paris blocking traffic, burning tires and throwing smoke bombs, riot police used tear gas to disperse the crowd. Twenty protesters were reportedly arrested.

Protests by taxi drivers also disrupted traffic in Toulouse, Lille and Marseille.

In a meeting with union representatives, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls warned taxi drivers that "violence was unacceptable", but pledged the government to working on a new set of rules that would be fair for taxi drivers and Uber drivers.