Thu, 30 Aug 2001

Street vendors oppose official raid

JAKARTA (JP): Sidewalk vendors operating in front of the University of Atmajaya on Jl. Jend. Sudirman, South Jakarta, smashed vases along the street on Wednesday in protest against a raid conducted by public security and order officers.

One of the vendors, Wati, 41, told Antara that she was upset due to the haphazard way the officers had handled her merchandise.

"Just imagine, they confiscated bottled drinks and cigarettes and just threw them into their truck. Those are mine. If they are damaged, how could I eat?" she said.

She admitted that a few days earlier, the vendors had received a warning from the city administration about the raid, which was scheduled at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, but they ignored it.

When the vendors arrived at the site in the morning, they found wooden poles installed on the site, so that it was difficult for them to operate their businesses.

They became angry and were soon involved in heated arguments with the officers when they showed up. A scuffle broke out before the officers fled due to the hostile crowd's burgeoning number.

About two hours after the officers had left, some vendors started to conduct their trade again, despite the obstructing wooden poles.