Who Is Responsible For The Protest Against Uber & PickMe? - Here Are The List Of Organizations And Their Diverse Interests

The protest launched by taxi drivers in Colombo yesterday against taxi-hailing apps has sparked a fierce debate on social media over demands and interests of the protestors. 

Conflicting reports have surfaced as to who carried out the protest and who was responsible for the violence unleashed on the employees of Uber office in Colombo and drivers and passengers who used the taxi-hailing apps yesterday despite the protest. 

Asian Mirror is in a position to reveal that the protest was organized and carried out by two main organizations - Sri Lanka Taxi Drivers Association (Sri Lanka Kulee ratha riyadurange sangamaya) and Self-Employed Tuk Tuk Drivers Association (Swayan Rekiya Niyukthikayange thriroda ratha sangamaya). These two organizations had different support-bases and different interests. They, however, came together to exert pressure on the companies operating taxi-hailing apps in Colombo.

They collectively described themselves as the "Riders' Voice Against Injustice" (Asadharanayata Erehi Riyaduru Handa). 

The protesters under these two organizations included taxi drivers who use taxi-hailing apps, taxi drivers who do not use taxi-hailing apps and Tuk Tuk drivers who opposed companies operating Taxi-hailing apps. While some groups engaged in the protest peacefully, some groups resorted to violence against those who used the apps despite the protest. 

Each group, understandably, had different demands. While those who are already enlisted on Uber and PickMe protested against daily commissions, others - mainly the Tuk Tuk drivers who have not signed up with the apps - demanded the closure of two companies. 

They argued that Uber and PickMe were ripping the drivers apart through commissions, while 'undercutting' the market. They also made it clear that the taxi-hailing apps have deprived the Tuk Tuk Drivers on the street on their livelihood. 

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