If you thought the traffic-snarling taxicab protests in Washington, D.C., or the Uber stings conducted by police in Miami were bad, hop across the Atlantic. In France, the battle over innovation in transportation brought on by ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft has turned violent and destructive. It’s a reminder of just how loath to compete some entrenched businesses really are.

Last week, French cab drivers took their fear of Uber to a violent level by blocking access to Paris airports and erecting barricade on major roads. They burned tires and overturned cars, forcing people trying to get to the airport to walk. Police were forced to don their riot gear and intervene in toss-ups between Uber drivers and taxi drivers.

French papers report that cab drivers disrupted traffic on a busy highway that encircles the capital as they protested about losing customers to the popular service. Access to three terminals at Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport in the north was blocked and cabs were converging on Orly airport in the south and at train stations inside the city. Thousands of cabs were also due to assemble in several of France's other major cities as part of the strike.

Even more concerning, on at least two occasions in Strasbourg recently, taxi drivers posed as customers to lure Uber drivers to isolated spots where they could assault the Uber drivers and damage their vehicles.

While the police came out to keep the peace, the French government is far from impartial. They have sided with the taxicab industry. France’s interior minister has implemented a ban on UberPop, a scaled down version of Uber’s ride-hailing service – similar to UberX in the US. UberPop has 1,500 drivers in the country and claims about 400,000 customers.

Wired reports:

In France, Uber has been operating in murky legal territory for some time. Last year, the government passed legislation that required all chauffeurs to have professional licenses and prevented app-based car services like Uber from using software to show the locations of their vehicles. A special law-enforcement brigade known as “Les Boers” patrols for UberPop drivers in violation of these rules, though the courts have yet to officially determine the validity of the law. In the meantime, Uber has reportedly encouraged its drivers to keep working. Today, according to Uber, after a three-year presence in France, the service has signed up a million users.

But France has proven especially resistant to tactics that have worked well for Uber stateside. As The New York Times Magazine recently reported, the country’s deeply ingrained tradition of shielding its workers, professions, and industries from allegedly unfair competition makes Silicon Valley-style disruption particularly unwelcome. Upending traditional institutions often isn’t received with the same kind of kudos that techies in the US heap on their entrepreneurial heroes.

Despite the government and taxicab efforts to stop Uber, the service remains popular and in demand.

In a PR play, the French government has arrested two Uber executives sending a bold, public message that Silicon Valley- innovation is not welcomed. They face charges of conspiring to organize illegal work. Uber confirmed that its general manager in western Europe and the head of the company's operations in the country are behind bars, but a release is hoped for soon.

This what happens when your nation’s economy is based on a model with heavy protections for established businesses and industries. Innovation is unwelcome as it poses a threat to the carefully constructed and tightly-controlled economy by the state.

Although U.S. states like Michigan and Florida are still grappling with how to deal with ride-sharing, while protecting the taxicab industry, it’s nowhere near as bad as France.

We are reminded that a free-market economy is the best environment for innovation to produce new products and services based on new  ideas. When cronyism drives government to pick winners and losers, consumers lose most because the variety, quantity, and quality is sacrificed.