7 February 2013

Liberia: Street Sellers, Police Clash

The Liberia National Police (LNP) created a scene yesterday when they clashed with some street vendors in their effort to have them removed from the sidewalks in central Monrovia. Speaking to journalists at the scene around Randall and Broad Street intersections, the Deputy Police for Operation at the LNP, Abraham Kromah, said it was wrong for the street vendors to throw stones at police officers.

He said street vendors have been given prior notice to leave the sidewalks but they had since remained resolute and adamant to heed the LNP's advice.

According to Mr. Kromah, a store owner wrote the Liberia National Police asking them to assist him in clearing the street vendors in front of his store, but they refused to leave the place thereby creating an undue embarrassment for his customers.

He further said that the LNP will continue to perform its duties in a peaceful manner. He narrated that about 12 street vendors were arrested by the police and will be prosecuted.

The Chairlady of the petty traders' union, Comfort T.Donyen, has expressed dissatisfaction over the riot that took place yesterday between street vendors and the Liberia National Police.

She said there had been good relationship between the street vendors and admitted that the police had held several meetings on the clearing of the sidewalks; in fact they were told that some of the street corners would have been given to the street vendors to sell their markets and sustain their relatives.

Though she did not identify the streets that would have been provided to street sellers but she expressed surprise in seeing police officers taking the street vendors from the sidewalk at the corner of Randall and Broad Streets.

The owner of L, R and Sons Store, Sam Anandani, said he was very hurt for the damage that took place in front his store, and materials damaged worth over US$700. "I did not recognize anyone, so who do I ask to pay for the damages?" he asked.

"I would appreciate any investigation to be conducted by the Liberia National Police on this case to find out the person(s) who caused the fracas," he concluded.

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