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Cabbie arrest sparks Newark airport protest

June 4, 2011 9:53:30 AM PDT
Taxi drivers staged a five-hour shutdown at Newark Liberty International Airport on Friday, refusing to pick up passengers to protest the arrest of a fellow cabbie.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the airport, used buses to transport incoming passengers to area rail stations to help them get to their destinations.

Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman said the protest followed the arrest of cabbie Ahmed Deraz around 3 p.m. Friday.

Jersey City Police Lt. Pietro Veltre, who was in uniform driving his personal vehicle on the Pulaski Skyway, claimed Deraz cut him off and continued to drive in a reckless manner, Coleman said.

Veltre followed Deraz to the cab staging area near the airport, where an argument ensued. Port Authority Police were called and arrested Deraz, Coleman said.

Deraz was charged with obstruction of justice and aggravated harassment, and issued summonses for following too closely, reckless driving and improper passing.

The protest broke up following Deraz's release from custody around 8 p.m. No age or hometown for Deraz was released.

Newark Liberty is one of the nation's busiest airports, handling about 33 million passengers annually.


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