Lilongwe vendors in fresh clashes with Malawi Police

Vendors and Police have clashed this Monday morning at Malangalanga in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe over a government campaign to clean up the streets.

Heavily armed anti-riot police officers fired teargas, rubber bullets to frighten off vendors and tried to dismantle their market stalls

Merchants rapidly closed their shops and supermarkets for fear of looting, while mini-buses stopped operating leaving several people stranded.

Business grind to a halt, Malangalanga in Lilongwe

Police turned the central trading places of old town into a no gone zone area with cops beating off people to clear the bus terminals and other areas.

At least 43 vendors were arrested following the clashes, Lilongwe police spokesman Kingsley Dandaula said.

The street clashes follows an announcement by the Lilongwe City Assembly that all street vendors must clear off the streets by Monday or risk being forcibly removed.

The vendors are resisting the order to move their business to designated flea markets allegedly because the premises are small and located in areas unsuitable for business.

Last week the vendors put up posters saying they will die before moving out of the streets.

Lilongwe City Council spokesperson Tamara Chafunya said street vending is illegal in order to promote cleanliness and reduce crime.

Malawian street sellers have to trade from designated markets, but many have invaded the streets,

Thousands of vendors hawk anything from second-hand clothes to pornography on the impoverished southern African country’s streets in a thriving informal sector.

Only about half a million of the 13 million citizens have formal jobs.

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