Three-wheel taxi drivers protest against travel warning

Three-wheel taxi drivers in Sri Lanka on Monday protested against a U.S. travel warning for tourists using three-wheelers in Colombo, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Representatives of three-wheel taxi associations protested outside the U.S. embassy in Colombo and submitted a petition calling for the withdrawal of the travel warning.

Three-wheel taxis are popular in Sri Lanka and widely used by tourists and locals to travel around the city.

The U.S. embassy in Colombo last week said it has been made aware of an increase in incidents involving three-wheel drivers in the Colombo area inappropriately touching female passengers.

The U.S. embassy, in a statement, reminded all U.S. citizens to maintain situational awareness when in public and at home to avoid being a victim of crime.

Female U.S. citizens were urged to avoid traveling in three-wheel taxis alone in Colombo and to take pictures of the three-wheel taxis driver and vehicle license plate prior to getting inside.

“Do not be afraid to use force if needed, make noise, be assertive, and strike back to defend yourself. Doing so will not only draw attention to the scene, but can also startle the attacker. Pay attention to your surroundings, and know your location in case you have to call for assistance. Do not make yourself a target for criminals, flashing expensive jewelry or large amounts of cash can make you a target,” the embassy said last week.

Three-wheel taxi drivers in Colombo said if the travel warning is not withdrawn, they would stage a larger protest outside the U.S. embassy in Colombo. (Colombo Gazette)