Tensions between Majorca's taxi drivers finally reached flash point yesterday with the dispute escalating into an all out strike by the city's taxi drivers. The series of four-hour stoppages by Palma's taxi fleet entered into its third week yesterday and the frustration started to show. A non-Palma taxi, one of the many at the centre of the dispute, was surrounded by Palma cabbies on its arrival at Palma airport and during the showdown between cabbies, violence broke out between three taxi drivers and a plain clothed police officer, who received quick support from uniformed police, and, according to the President of the Palma taxi drivers Gabriel Moragues, a number of other cabbies were injured during the scuffle. Moragues also claims that one of the three taxi drivers subsequently arrested was bundled into the back of a police van and “mistreated.” The incident happened an hour-and-a-half after yesterday morning's four hour stoppage had ended, but Moragues called for an all out strike until the three detained cabbies were all released. By early yesterday evening, one of the three had been released without charge, but the other two were waiting to appear before a magistrate yesterday evening and while that process continued, just 20 taxis were operating in Palma and at the airport. Moragues also said last night that “as soon as the identities” of the police involved are known, he will be pressing charges on grounds of an abuse of authority. He added that the police's response to the “passive protest by the taxi drivers was over the top.” The airport and the city of Palma were last night dependent on 15 taxis and five radio-taxis as the rest of the fleet stopped work and all of the operating cabs displayed “minimum service” signs. Sources for the striking taxi drivers said last night that “until new orders it's all out.” The dispute is raging over a change in the law by central government which has brought an end to Palma taxi drivers' exclusive access to collecting passengers at port of entry.


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