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Last Updated: Friday, 12 October 2007, 23:25 GMT 00:25 UK
Mexico City clears 15,000 vendors
Street vendors' protest against the ban in Mexico City on Thursday 11 October
Mexico City's vendors have hawked their wares since pre-Hispanic times
Hundreds of riot gear-clad police officers have forcibly removed thousands of street vendors from the historic centre of Mexico City.

The local government said an estimated 15,000 traders had been cleared from 87 streets at the capital's main plaza.

Mexico City's left-wing mayor, Marcelo Ebrard, said he wanted unlicensed stalls removed to reclaim public spaces and improve quality of life.

But many vendors have vowed to defy the authorities and return to the Zocalo.

BBC Americas editor Will Grant says the traders have been involved in a long-standing dispute with successive local administrations about the right to trade in the city.

The president of one street vendors' union, Alejandra Barrios, criticised the government, saying: "They are not thinking about the fact that these people don't have jobs. What do they think these people will do?"

There are an estimated 35,000 street vendors in the city of 8.5 million people.

Traders have hawked trinkets, toys and tacos since pre-Hispanic times in the heart of the city.

Country profile: Mexico
20 Jun 07 |  Country profiles

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