Burma

YCDC, Street Vendors Locked in a Lawsuit

By May Sitt Paing 4 January 2017

RANGOON — Rangoon’s municipality officers and street vendors are looking to sue one another after a scuffle between them broke out Tuesday morning, a police officer with the Lamadaw Township police station confirmed.

Some trishaw drivers and street vendors did not take kindly to municipal officers’ clearing them from the street while they were selling goods by the roadside and on the corner of Anawrahta Road and 8th Street in Lanmadaw Township.

A video clip showing the scuffle has since gone viral. It depicts street vendors swearing at municipal officers and what appears to be a trishaw driver trying to hit someone with a bottle while police attempt to control the situation and calm participants down.

In early December, Rangoon municipality, also known as the YCDC (Yangon City Development Committee), relocated thousands of street vendors to a newly designated night market on Strand Road in order to regulate unmanageable traffic congestion on eleven major downtown streets: Anawrahta, Bogyoke, Mahabandoola, Pansodan, Merchant, Shwedagon Pagoda, Sule Pagoda, Latha, Lanmadaw, Phone Gyi, and Strand.

As a result, selling goods along these 11 major roads has been prohibited since Dec. 1.

The video footage does not show how municipal officers handled the goods sold by street vendors, though Rangoon municipality has said before that it would throw away any goods sold on those particular roads as they would garbage.

YCDC officials have filed a lawsuit against seven people—three trishaw drivers and four street vendors. And a street vendor has also filed a lawsuit against a YCDC staff member for allegedly touching her breast. The seven people, however, have been released on bail. Some municipal staff and street vendors sustained small cuts and bruises during the altercation, said a police officer with the Lanmadaw police station.

“[YCDC] has filed a lawsuit under charges of causing small injuries, disturbing duty [of government officials], and swearing. And one of the street vendors has filed a lawsuit against a junior clerk of the YCDC for insulting her modesty,” the officer told The Irrawaddy.

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