POLICE in Bulawayo on Wednesday arrested and detained about 200 street vendors demonstrating against an increase in illegal vending fines by the local city authority.
The Bulawayo City Council this week increased illegal vending
fines by 240% from $600 000 to $2 million, a move that incensed the vendors who make a living from selling wares on the streets.
Many of them were left with no legal vending bays after Operation Murambatsvina.
The placard-waving demonstrators numbering close to 500 marched to the council offices demanding to see the mayor Japhet Ndabeni Ncube.
The irate vendors brought business at the City Hall to a standstill forcing the city authorities to summon police.
Bulawayo police spokesperson Langa Ndlovu confirmed the incident and said he was still to ascertain the total number of vendors arrested.
“There were protests at the City Hall and several people were arrested, I do not have the details at the moment,” Ndlovu said.
After the arrests, the police decided to ferry the vendors to the holding cells at the Bulawayo Central police station using two trucks, despite the station being a few metres away.
Council spokesperson Phathisa Nyathi, when contacted for comment said he was not aware what the traders’ grievances were since they were arrested before they could present their grievances to council.
“It is very unfortunate that the police had to arrest the vendors before they could have an audience with the mayor and as far as we are concerned right now, we are not aware what the vendors were demonstrating against,” Nyathi said. — Staff Writer.