Street hawkers in Monrovia have protested against mal-handling of some of their colleagues by City Police enforcing regulation, barring selling in the main streets which leads to traffic congestion. The hawkers Wednesday, 20 July staged a peaceful protest in the capital, calling on the Government of Liberia to allow them continue selling their wares, which is their main source of survivors.
They carried placards and chanted “We want sell”; “No more City Police.” The spokesperson for the protesters Madam Kebeh F. Collins, who claims to be a store owner, narrated that each time the July 26 Independence festivities are around, police from the Monrovia City Corporation and the Liberia National Police get in the streets primarily to disturb them at their usual selling spots, which is currently happening. Liberia celebrates her 169th Independence Day on July 26, 2016.
Madam Collins said the situation is greatly affecting their businesses as those of them who own large businesses, depend on street hawkers to buy their products wholesale and retail them to the public. According to her, if vendors are stopped from selling, they (owners of stores and shops) will not also sell because no one will buy their goods.
She lamented that on a daily basis; the City Police beat the street vendors and confiscate their wares without returning them. She said the police wrongly engage and stop them completely from earning their livelihood.
Madam Collins wondered what government is doing to ensure that street vendors are relocated to a suitable place, adding “there are no job opportunities provided by the government for many of her citizens, causing them to go in the streets to sell and manage their lives.
She disclosed that they will meet with the director of police Col. Chris Clarence Massaquoi and the Monrovia City Mayor to speedily probe the matter in order to restore calm, stressing they would channel their grievances through the rightful and peaceful path instead of engaging in violence.
One vendor, only identified as Gibson, said they need to sell in order to able to pay their children’s school fees, lamenting, ‘’If you stopped us from selling, how will we pay our children’s school fees?”
By Bridgett Milton & Ramsey N. Singbeh, Jr.-Editing by Jonathan Browne