Furious at what they regard as unfair competition, cabbies blocked roads to the capital's airports, overturned cars and burned tyres to press for the scheme to be abolished. Prime Minister Manuel Valls condemned the violence and incidents 'on both sides' as the government sought to take a tough stand on the protests while backing the drivers' case.

"They give a deplorable image to visitors to our country," he said during a visit to Colombia, adding that all available legal measures would be taken to halt the UberPOP activity.

The police said 70 cars were damaged and seven police officials injured in the protests. Ten people were arrested. The protests were among the fiercest in a series of strikes and other demonstrations across Europe against San Francisco-based Uber, whose backers including investment bank Goldman Sachs <GS.N> and technology giant Google <GOOGL.O>. It is valued in excess of USD 40 billion.

Uber, which says it has 1 million users in France, links drivers to passengers through a smartphone app. It has expanded its UberPOP service in French cities, provoking anger from taxi drivers and stirring a debate over what is fair competition.
 
At Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, staff advised passengers to avoid the traffic chaos by walking between terminals. Dozens of passengers lined the roads, with some scrambling up slopes and across motorway barriers, a witness said.

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