Brawl breaks out between Lanmadaw street vendors and YCDC employees

Since the establishment of the night market, Yangon authorities have been making an effort to get street vendors off the main downtown roads, mostly in an attempt to ease traffic. Unfortunately, things haven’t always gone so smoothly — last month, YCDC employees physically assaulted a street vendor and wrecked his stall, and yesterday, there was yet another physical interaction between the two parties.

Around 9 am yesterday morning, three YCDC employees informed street vendors who were operating at the corner of Anawrahta Road and 8th Street in Lanmadaw Township that they weren’t allowed to sell there and ordered them to pack up their stalls.

In response, some of the vendors began throwing rocks and beer bottles at them. Thankfully no one was seriously hurt, but the YCDC employees did suffer some minor cuts and bruises.

Although authorities claim that none of the street vendors were injured, that’s not what the other side is saying.

“They grabbed our trishaws and food trays. When we tried to grab them back, three YCDC employees started punching my husband. They also shoved me in the chest,” one female vendor told Kumudra.

An official from the YCDC has opened a case against four street vendors at the Lanmadaw police station under Sections 114 (“Abettor present when offence is committed”), 294 (“Obscene acts and songs”), and 332 (“Voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty”) of the Myanmar Penal Code.

But that’s not all — from the other side, the vendors have also opened a case at the Lanmadaw police station under Section 354 (“Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty”).

While the idea behind the market is admirable, it’s obvious that it’s not working out for anyone. Even vendors who have market stalls have admitted that the stalls are cramped and that it’s not been good for business. Additionally, because the market can only house 1600 vendors, the remaining thousand of vendors who couldn’t nab a spot have been relegated to cramming into the tiny one-way downtown side streets, or — in this case — now operating ‘illegally’ in the same spots where they’ve been setting up shop for years.

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