Taxi drivers block the traffic to protest against Uber in Rio, Brazil on July 24, 2015. (Xinhua/AFP)
RIO DE JANEIRO, July 25 (Xinhua) -- A massive protest against unlicensed ride service Uber by taxi drivers in Brazil's second-largest city was necessary, not counter productive, one taxi leader said.
Marcos Bezerra, the president of the Rio de Janiero Regional Council of Taxi Drivers, told Brazil's prestigious G1 news website that protests like Friday's "are needed to show the transportation they offer is clandestine."
Just as in similar protests in other world capitals, Uber offered residents free rides in response to the lack of cabs and traffic deadlock caused by the taxi drivers.
As a result, according to G1, "Uber was the most downloaded free application on Friday."
Asked whether the taxi drivers hadn't hurt their own cause by protesting, Bezerra said: "It's no use saying we won't (protest) because Uber will grow and we'll shoot ourselves in the foot ... to me that sounds like a marketing ploy so people will do nothing."
At least some thousand taxi drivers parked bumper to bumper along one of Rio's major avenues, bringing traffic to a standstill for several hours Friday morning to protest the service they say encroaches on their business.
Cab drivers say Uber, which matches users needing a ride with those offering them, is essentially a "pirate" transport service and represents "disloyal competition."