Police in Kitwe had to use teargas yesterday to drive off thousands of street vendors who had returned to the corridors and other places they were chased from just over a month ago by the PF government
Businesses in the central business district rushed to bring down the shutters on their shops and offices as council police, reinforced by Zambia Police, moved in to drive the vendors off.
Police said 35 vendors had been arrested and charged with conduct likely to cause breach of the peace.
Copperbelt police commissioner Charity Katanga said among those arrested were 10 men and 25 women poor women who were detained at Kitwe Central Police.
The poor women were just trying to earn a living since life is extremely hard under Edgar Lungu.
The vendors briefly withstood the council police, with some revealing that they had been allowed to get back to trade on the streets by MMD die hard Bowman Lusambo who is now minister of Copperbelt.
The vendors who voted for PF last year were forced to flee the city centre, many leaving their wares behind as riot police arrived.
The vendors later mobilised themselves and started throwing stones at the police who responded with tear gas.
Katanga said the vendors went back on the streets after a woman only identified as Bana Mpundu allegedly went into Chisokone market and told traders that she had received instructions from Lusaka that the vendors should go back on the streets.
Some vendors spoken to said that three months had passed without being allocated trading spaces the council promised them and they wanted to carry on earning a living while the council found them alternative trading places.
Maureen Mulenga, a vendor, said the traders had come back on the streets because they had stayed for so long without trading.
Another said the vendors were the ones who voted for Patriotic Front but were surprised that they were being mistreated.
He added; “If our minister can allow us to trade who is the council to stop us?”
Others complained about the poor state of Chisokone Market where they were taken, stating that it was in a deplorable state.