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(en) Poland, Warsaw, street peddlars protest

Date Sun, 11 Sep 2005 11:31:54 +0300

The city authorities, in their efforts to gentrify the city and control all
areas of economic life, began a massive crackdown on all street peddlars,
even those with permission. City police, regular police and tax police were
involved with raids last week which cleared several areas of street vendors.
Many vendors had their goods confiscated. Many received fines or orders to
appear at the tax office. According to official reports, at least two people
were arrested for deportation. We suspect this number may in fact be much
higher as three people from our house alone (two from Georgia and one from
Ukraine) are unacccounted for.
Some peddlars decided to fight back. On Sept. 8, a group of vendors from
Warsaw's Praga district held an illegal rally to the city Rathaus. There
they demanded explanations as to why even legally registered traders (who
ven pay rent to the city!) were included in these raids and what happened to
confiscated goods. They also demanded permission to continue work in peace,
shouting slogans like "We won't give up the streets" and "Let us live".
Unemployment is 18% in Poland and pensioneers receive very little money.
Many of the peddlars are unemployed, rural unemployed and self-employed
small-holder farmers, pensioneers and migrants.

Anarchists from FA Praga support this protest and are carrying out work with
local people to raise awareness of the issues involved (gentrification, the
problems of farmers, corporate farmers and supermarkets, the repression of
small scale trade in favour of shopping malls, the problem of migrants,
structural unemployment and government intervention in people's lives
against everybody's interests).

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