Afternoon traffic was clogged downtown and the air resounded with the noise of honking horns as more than 150 angry cabbies circled city hall in protest of what they see as a lack of concern for their safety.
Earlier yesterday a taxi driver was sent to hospital with stab wounds after he picked up a man in south Edmonton.
Balraj Manhas, president of the United Cab Association of Edmonton, said drivers are frustrated and scared because their safety is not being guaranteed and they are demanding mandatory safety shields.
“We get beat and abused and there are lots of things unreported to police,” said Manhas. “(Because of that) we’re here to push for mandatory safety shields.”
Police said the cabbie picked up a man near 80 Street and 15A Avenue shortly after 1 a.m. and was subsequently attacked.
The driver remained in the car as the attacker ran off in an area around 72 Street and 11 Avenue. The wounded driver later activated his emergency button to let his company know that he was in trouble, police said.
Police said the man is still in hospital in stable condition and they have identified a possible suspect, a 20-year-old man.
Gurdip Warich, a cab driver since 1982, said the shields would go a long way to make sure their safety is ensured in a constantly violent job.
“Every day we get someone stabbed or murdered,” he said. “If someone is drunk or high they don’t know what (they’re) doing. If you have a shield he can just go ahead and break his hand.”
Southeast division officers are still investigating the assault and so far no arrests have been made.