Anarchists target Uber cars in Seattle


by KING 5 News

Posted on April 28, 2014 at 8:28 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 29 at 8:08 AM

A self-proclaimed anarchist group says it has a new target: Uber.

The group called "Counterforce" claims to have stopped 10 Uber cars on Saturday night in Seattle, hoping to disrupt business for the popular mobile app company.

"Saturday night is the busiest ever," said Uber driver Amanuel Haile.

And with all the bar hopping, Seattle's Capitol Hill is one of the company's busiest areas.

Perhaps that is why the protesters picked that night and that neighborhood to target Uber vehicles. They posted photos on a website, claiming to have detained 10 cars in front of hundreds of witnesses, because Uber is "one of the most disgusting tech companies in existence."

The site goes on to say "multiple families will lose a significant portion of their monthly incomes when Uber overtakes smaller taxi services."

"This is my life, why would they do that?" asked Haile, when he heard about the disruptions. "I have to protect the passenger for sure, ask 'What is this about?' and stay calm."

Brook Steger, GM for Uber Seattle, posted a response in a blog on the company site. She only knows of one driver having service interrupted Saturday night.

And to counter the anarchists' claim about Uber forcing families to lose income, she said, "Many small business owners we partner with are college students, immigrants, and residents looking to supplement their income."

Of the four businesses near the intersection of Harvard and Pine, where the anarchist photos appear to be taken, none of them remember seeing any protesters Saturday night, and some question why they would target Uber.

"I don't know," said Dale Metteer, a bartender at Linda's. "I've never seen it as a super corporate company."

With May Day approaching, Seattle Police says it's warning anyone in a car that gets surrounded by protesters to stay calm, stay in the car, and if you're worried about your safety, call 911.

Some Capitol Hill businesses are not taking any chances. Last year, a string of windows were smashed and car vandalized by protestors marching to the downtown core. The owner of Mia’s Café on Capitol Hill says she will close early this year to avoid any confrontations.

KING 5's Jake Whittenberg contributed to this report.