Cabbies protest liberalization

Athens taxi drivers formed a kilometers-long motorcade on Wednesday morning, heading to the Transport Ministry in the northern Athenian suburb of Holargos to protest the recent liberalization of their sector.

The yellow cabs were joined by colleagues from other parts of the country, bringing Mesogeion Avenue and many other streets in the area to a standstill, as part of a 24-hour strike called by the taxi drivers? union following an announcement by Transport Minister Yiannis Ragousis on Monday that the sector, one of many so-called closed shops in Greece, would be opened up to competition.

Unionists representing taxi drivers around the country claim that relaxing limitations for entering the profession will result in an overabundance of drivers, putting a strain on business, which is already suffering because of the economic crisis. They also say that the existing 300,000 taxis that are in circulation in the country are more than adequate to meet the public?s needs.

Greek cabbies will be back on the job as of 5 a.m. on Thursday morning.

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