A mob of irate cab drivers calling for a total halt to app-based car services throughout Mexico City assaulted several Uber cars with metal bars and rocks earlier this week to protest the company's presence.
Footage of the protest on Tuesday shows a crowd of cabbies and their supporters violently vandalizing vehicles in an area near the city's airport. People smashed windshields and windows and tossed eggs and flour at various cars. At least eight vehicles were damaged. Police restored order within about 30 minutes of the attack.
"What happened is a very grave attack on everyone's freedom and right to make a living in a dignified manner," Uber said in a statement. "Incidents like this are completely unacceptable and we trust that authorities will act so that justice is done."
Uber spokeswoman Rocio Paniagua told Mexico's Televisa news that some of the Uber drivers who had been targeted had received minor injuries, but no one was seriously hurt. The majority of cars and drivers struck by the mob Wednesday were gathered in streets around the airport because they were not allowed on airport grounds, Paniagua said.
Hundreds of taxi drivers have staged protests in Mexico over the past several months demanding that the government aggressively regulate Uber, which launched services in the country in 2013. Registered cabbies insist that rideshare services are an "illegal" and "unfair" form of competition.
Many cab drivers in Mexico City have raised concerns over Uber's encroaching takeover of the industry, even after the city became the first in Latin America to establish official regulations for smartphone-based ride services.
The city reportedly has one of the largest fleet of registered cabs in the world — nearly 140,000 — offering cheap services starting at just 55 cents. But taxis in the dense city of 20 million people are also notorious for being unreliable and non-compliant with regulations.
Taxi drivers argue that bureaucracy and high fees to operate cabs and obtain licenses prevent them from keeping their vehicles in better condition and offering better service.
Registered cabbies have demanded that ride-hailing app companies pay 1.5 percent of fares to help improve transport in the city. They have also demanded that the government force the drivers of these companies to register for annual inspections and ban them from creating the equivalent of cab stands.
The cabbies have vowed not to stop protesting until their demands are met, but representatives of the Organized Taxi Drivers of Mexico City, a cabbie union, denied that the group was involved in Tuesday's assault.
"These transnational applications are infiltrating different countries as an economic parasite, endangering the livelihood of thousands of taxi drivers and their families and devouring the market for the legally established service," union official Ignacio Rodriguez told the Associated Press.
"I think it's a logical consequence, that people start to get desperate because these companies continue to work and are probably even laughing at us," 61-year-old cab driver Francisco Rodriguez Esquivel said. "The struggle continues, and it is going to continue until this gets fixed."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.