May 20, 2015 / 5:19 PM / 3 years ago

Belgian prosecutors investigate alleged intimidation of Uber drivers

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Brussels prosecutors said on Wednesday they were investigating alleged intimidation of Uber drivers, two months after a Belgian taxi driver was arrested for threatening behavior towards drivers who offer their services through the ride-sharing app.

A taxi driver holds a placard reading "No to Uber" during a protest against the online ride-sharing company, in central Brussels, March 3, 2015. REUTERS/Yves Herman

Drivers of licensed taxis appeared to have twice ordered rides through Uber in the Belgian capital on Saturday morning, and then surrounded and insulted the driver who arrived at the rendezvous, prosecutors said. No one was hurt.

A 33-year-old Uber driver also alleged that a group of regular taxi drivers had surrounded him and stolen his mobile phone, but later retracted the complaint.

Uber said it would cooperate with the public authorities throughout any investigation.

“We take any incident that compromises the safety of our riders or driver partners extremely seriously. The only thing we ask anyone involved in an incident is to report it straight to the relevant authorities,” said Filip Nuytemans, General Manager of Uber Belgium.

California-based Uber Inc, which connects willing drivers with passengers through a smartphone app, has caused a stir in many European cities, where licensed taxi drivers have protested against what they see as unfair competition.

Brussels’ taxi drivers jammed the streets in March to protest against a move by the city to consider legalizing online ride-sharing services.

Reporting by Julia Fioretti; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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