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Taxi protest causes chaos in Indonesian capital

JAKARTA, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of taxi drivers on Tuesday morning took to the main streets of Indonesian capital rallying in a massive demonstration against the presence of ride-hailing apps such as, Uber and Grab, causing traffic jam and chaos.

Indonesian Land Transportation Drivers Association spokesman Daelami has said over 10,000 drivers would join the rally which is scheduled to start at 9 a.m.at the House of Representatives complex in South Jakarta before heading to the Communications Ministry office in Central Jakarta.

Scores of footage appearing on TV and circulation on social media showed long lines of taxis blocking the roads while men, wearing taxi driver uniforms, are seen attacking on vehicles that refused to join the protest.

More than 5,000 security officers were deployed to guard the rally, according to Jakarta Police spokesman Senior Commissioner Muhammad Iqbal.

"We will take actions when the protesters violate the law and turn violent," Iqbal told reporters in Jakarta on Tuesday.

The protest came after the government decided last week to allow the app-based transportation service providers to operate in Indonesia.

The Indonesian Car Rental Cooperative was officially recognized by the Ministry for Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises last Wednesday, following talks between the company, officials from the newly established cooperative and SMEs Minister Anak Agung Gede Puspayoga.

GrabCar and Uber have received fierce rejections from taxi and public transportation operators since they were first introduced last year, citing declining income among drivers and violation of the 2009 Road Traffic Law, under which their operation is not recognized as a form of public transportation.

In a response to the mounting criticism from drivers, Transportation Minister Ignasius Jonan issued a letter in November banning all app-based ride-hailing services, including motorcycle taxi apps Go-Jek and GrabBike.

The move was overruled by President Joko Widodo less than 24 hours after the letter was issued.

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