Taxi drivers in France who were on strike blocked Paris roads and cut off access to airports Thursday in intensified protests against UberPOP, a controversial ridesharing program there. Drivers flipped over some cars and burned others, at one point causing French riot police to use tear gas to control the crowds, Reuters reported. At least one government official has asked for a ban on the service in response.

"The atmosphere is electrifying. It looks like scenes of rioting," photographer Stéphane Remael told his paper, Liberation. "I was taking photos when a taxi driver hit me, then 20 arrived. They told me to leave. They gave me little shots."

Protestors were acting out against UberPOP, a European spinoff of the American rideshare app Uber. Traditional French taxi drivers argue that UberPOP drivers have an unfair advantage -- they don't have to be professionals or pay licensing fees for their cars, the Verge reported. The taxi drivers claim revenue has decreased by as much as 40 percent.

2015-06-25T092439Z_2133466894_PM1EB6P0VG601_RTRMADP_3_FRANCE-UBER Taxi drivers on strike burn tires during a national protest against car-sharing service Uber in Marseille, France, on Thursday. Photo: Reuters

2015-06-25T085415Z_1442777538_PM1EB6P0TZ601_RTRMADP_3_FRANCE-UBER French riot police push an overturned car as striking taxi drivers demonstrate at the Porte Maillot to block the traffic on the Paris ring road during a national protest against Uber in Paris on Thursday. Photo: Reuters

2015-06-25T111914Z_1600930540_PM1EB6P10K601_RTRMADP_3_FRANCE-UBER A policeman secures the traffic as taxi drivers burn tires to block the access to Nice International airport. Photo: Reuters

In October, a French law banned unregistered drivers from picking up customers, but Uber challenged its constitutionality. The legal process was ongoing, causing the protests to flare up in the meantime. 

"We are faced with permanent provocation to which there can only be one response: total firmness in the systematic seizure of offending vehicles," G7 taxi company manager Serge Metz told French news channel BFMTV. "We are truly sorry to have to hold clients and drivers hostage. We're not doing this lightly."

2015-06-25T114238Z_906149763_PM1EB6P11BI01_RTRMADP_3_FRANCE-UBER French striking taxi drivers block the access to Orly airport, south of Paris, during a national protest against car-sharing service Uber on Thursday. Photo: Reuters

2015-06-25T114258Z_1089053627_PM1EB6P112W01_RTRMADP_3_FRANCE-UBER A French taxi driver holds a leaflet which reads "UBER GO HOME." Photo: Reuters

2015-06-25T081352Z_1587158367_PM1EB6P0S2L01_RTRMADP_3_FRANCE-UBER French taxi drivers demonstrate at Porte Maillot to block the traffic on the Paris ring road during a national protest against Uber on Thursday. Photo: Reuters

Thursday, at least three terminals at the Roissy-Charles de Gaulle Airport were blocked by cabs. It was impossible to enter the Paris Orly Airport from the A106 highway, and protestors crowded streets in some cities, including Toulouse, Lyon and Nice. Minister of the Interior Bernard Cazeneuve called the incidents "serious disturbances of public order" and "development of this illegal activity" in a statement requesting the Paris police stop UberPOP activity.

Courtney Love, an American singer, was caught in the demonstration. She live-tweeted her experience, at one point addressing French President François Hollande to ask "is it legal for your people to attack visitors?" and "Wtf???"