Vendors in MalawiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s capital, Lilongwe, on Thursday rioted against their forceful removal from Malangalanga Street pavements and defied Police who acted with restraint before the Malawi Defence Force was called in.
Police reported three injuries mainly from stones pelted by vendors while 18 people were arrested for illegal vending and two for conduct likely to cause breach of peace after they were caught throwing stones at the Police.
Two shops belonging to Bata Shoe Company and PTC at Malangalanga Road were looted.
The Capital CityÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s shopping district was shut down but only a few teargas canisters were thrown around 8 am at the start of the street fights. The vendors ruled over the busiest road for two hours.
They burnt tyres, cartons and baskets as traders shut down their shops. Some shopsÃ‚Â had their windows smashed but only one near Malangalanga housing area was reportedly looted. Police cordoned off the area.
It all started with a Lilongwe City Patrol vehicle which arrived at Malangalanga around 8.12 am with armed Police Mobile Service personnel asking the vendors to relocate to the markets or selling space. They quickly regrouped and startedÃ‚Â pelting the police, who retaliated by firing teargas to disperse the vendors.
Hell broke loose and one police woman was reportedly assaulted although Central Region Police spokesperson Superintendent John Namalenga could not confirm any injury ofÃ‚Â any police officer, but said that was likely in such a situation.
Vendors at Tsoka Flea market jammed the M1 road for a while before police rushed in to disperse them. They went into the market and started stoning the police officers.
AtÃ‚Â Malangalanga, vendors jeered the riot vehicle known as Black Maria which made way through the tense crowds which chanted anti-government slogans.