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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 July 2006, 09:53 GMT 10:53 UK
Taxi strikes bring chaos to Italy
A striking taxi driver in central Rome on 3 July
The taxi protest caused traffic jams in Italian cities
Unofficial strikes by taxi drivers have escalated across Italy, leaving airline passengers stranded at major airports, including Rome and Milan.

Taxi cabs also converged on one of the main squares in the capital, causing gridlock.

The wildcat strikes began after the government of Romano Prodi announced last week a number of measures aimed at liberalising taxi licensing.

Cab drivers' unions plan a national strike next Tuesday.

"This is a spontaneous fight against the competition law," Rome taxi drivers said in a pamphlet, which also condemned the "lack of consultation and dialogue" on the issue.

Mr Prodi on Monday pledged to continue reforms that would also affect public transport firms, lawyers and pharmacists.

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