- Title: SOUTH KOREA: South Korean taxi drivers rally demanding government subsides
- Date: 20th February 2013
- Summary: SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (FEBRUARY 20, 2013) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF SOUTH KOREAN TAXI DRIVERS CHANTING SLOGANS, PUTTING UP AND DOWN PLACARDS DURING RALLY NEAR NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, DEMANDING TO RE-PASS TAXI BILL THAT WOULD HAVE ALLOWED TAXIES TO BE RECOGNIZED AS PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION AND GAIN GOVERNMENTAL SUBSIDES VARIOUS OF PROTEST IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (Korean) CHAIRMAN OF KOREAN TAXI WORKER'S UNION KOO SOO-YOUNG SAYING: "We called for the National Assembly to deal with the Taxi Public Transportation Bill which has been rejected by the government as quickly as possible. So, we held a protest today to express wishes from families of the drivers." VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS MARCHING TOWARD NATIONAL ASSEMBLY TAXI ON BUSINESS BEING SURROUNDED BY PROTESTERS, BLAMING THE DRIVER FOR NOT JOINING THE PROTEST WITH THEM VARIOUS OF POLICE GETTING PROTESTERS AWAY FROM TAXI POLICE STANDING AROUND TAXI
- Embargoed: 7th March 2013 12:00
- Location: Korea, Republic of
- Country: South Korea
- Topics: Politics
- Reuters ID: LVADI6H5DQ1MCO6QY57FEO78GJJB
- Story Text: A huge number of South Korea's taxi drivers rallied on Wednesday (February 20) demanding the National Assembly re-pass a controversial taxi bill to gain government subsides.
Police put the total number of taxi drivers protesting at about 30,000.
During their one day strike, the taxi drivers gathered near the National Assembly building and demanded parliament re-vote on the bill that would categorize taxis as public transportation.
The "taxi bill," which was designed to include taxis in public transport and expand financial and other benefits for them, was initially passed at the Assembly on January 1, but President Lee Myung-bak vetoed it on January 22 due to negative public sentiment.
"We called for the National Assembly to deal with the Taxi Public Transportation Bill which has been rejected by the government as quickly as possible. So, we held a protest today to express wishes from families of the drivers," said Koo Soo-young, the chairman of Korean Taxi Worker's Union.
At the end of the protest, protesters attacked a taxi which drove past and was not participating in the strike. A small clash broke out between taxi drivers and riot police who tried to stop them. No injuries were reported.
Drivers said they receive fewer state benefits than bus drivers because they do not fall into the classification of public transportation.
South Korea's Yonhapnews said, after the president's veto, the government proposed alternative measures designed to be beneficial for both cab drivers and customers. However, taxi companies and drivers said they were not convinced and chose to hold a strike instead.
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