Wednesday 17th January 2018

Riots break out in Kanyama over Street Vending as HH calls for calm

Kanyama residents who livelihoods have been disturbed by the decision to ban street vending have fought running battles with riot police.

The residents who mobilized themselves this morning blocked roads, burnt tyres and threw stones at police officers who attempted to quell the unrest.

The residents were protesting against their removal from the streets and the curfew imposed on them by the government.

Police had to throw teargas which chopped several residents including elderly women and children.

Some of the residents who used to trade from the streets are demanding that they be allowed back on the streets as it is their only source of livelihood.

Samuel Mwale, an eyewitness said police fired excessive teargas which choked many innocent people.

“Please can someone command the police to stop teargassing people right now it’s too much we shall lose lives here in Kanyama. The teargassing is too much in houses where they are little children and pregnant women. Please ba President Lungu stop these police what they are doing is bad. I cant move out of my vehicle right now with my guys because teargas concentration outside is bad,” Mr Mwale posted on his Facebook page.

By the time of publishing, the riots were still ravaging.

And opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema has called for calm among Kanyama residents.

In a statement, Mr Hichilema said “We have received information that traders who were displaced from the streets and resident in Kanyama have run out of patience and protesting, demanding to get back their trading places so that they can continue earning a living.”

He added, “We fully understand the challenges that everyone is facing at this moment but we want to call for calm as together we identify lasting solutions to these challenges.”

Mr Hichilema has further called on every well meaning Zambian not to involve themselves in violent protests that would lead to death.

“May calm be restored in our country and we hope even those whose trading places have been declared prohibited throughout the country will not resort to violence but dialogue and identify lasting solutions. It is understood that people’s lives and livelihoods have been disturbed and its time the PF took this matter seriously. The solution to roadside trading is to designate an area for traders to conduct their business.”

COMMENTS Connect with Open Zambia and have your say