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Last Updated: Friday, 10 March 2006, 22:50 GMT
Tanzania suspends street clean-up
A street vendor picks over the remains of his kiosk in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Street vendors say moving away from the town centres hits business
A police crackdown on street vendors and bus ticket touts in Tanzania has been suspended for six months after violent clashes left two people dead.

Prime Minister Edward Lowassa said he was halting the operation to allow local authorities and vendors alike more time to prepare for the change.

Vendors and touts have been blamed for a rise in petty crime.

The two deaths occurred on Wednesday in the town of Mwanza along the shores of Lake Victoria in the north.

Four hours of rioting began after police and security guards confiscated vendors' wares and shops and offices in the town were shut down, according to Tanzanian newspaper Mwananchi.

"Many" people were also injured before anti-riot police quelled the violence with tear gas.

Kiosks were also demolished and vendors removed in the capital, Dar es Salaam.

'Adequate preparation'

Mr Lowassa, who originally envisaged completing the clean-up within three months, told the BBC's Swahili service that municipal officials were being given time to plan the clean-up "in a more respectful manner".

With the kiosk's income we could send the children to school and pay for the rent - now we are left with nothing
unnamed street vendor

Vendors facing eviction also needed time to "prepare themselves adequately", he added.

The prime minister said that those traders already moved on would be allowed to continue their business elsewhere because it was the government's policy to "ensure income for everyone".

But vendors complain their new trading spots are not in the town centres and therefore they are being denied their right to a living.

"With the kiosk's income we could send the children to school and pay for the rent," a woman in Dar es Salaam told the BBC as she piled up the remnants of her stand.

"Now we are left with nothing."

The BBC's Vicky Ntetema in Dar es Salaam says the streets of the city looked bare on Friday after the demolitions.

Crimes are often committed in broad daylight in front of the street vendors who do not warn the victims or volunteer information to the police.

Many of the vendors say they were given licenses and paid taxes and they expect compensation from the government for destroying their property.

Country profile: Tanzania
08 Nov 03 |  Country profiles


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