Heavily armed officers from Malawi Police Service on Monday morning descended into the Lilongwe roads which were the beehive of street vending, torching their stalls in the process.
All vendors are being encouraged to move off the streets to official flea markets.
Police had to fire tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse hundreds of vendors who went on an angry rampage after their stalls were dismantled.
Lilongwe Police Publicist Sub Inspector Kingsley Dandaula said the exercise is aimed at flashing out all illegal vendors.
At St John’s vendor’s hub, the security officials in conjunction with Lilongwe City Council personnel burnt down all the stalls to the displeasure of the traders who argued that they have lost a lot of property.
Vendors regrouped themselves with stones and tyres which they used to burn and barricaded the main road M1.
But in Area 2, Kamuzu Procession Road, the vendors moved out from the streets without much resistance.
Calm was restored only after the army was called in.
Meanwhile, irate vendors set the school belonging to First Lady Gertrude Mutharika ablaze in Lilongwe Area 36.
Police routinely move on Lilongwe’s informal traders, who complain that their designated flea market is too far away and often set up their stalls in the busy streets of the central business district.
Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world, with an estimated 75% of the population living on less than $1 (60p) a day.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :