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Harare Police Round Up Street Vendors in Replay of 2005 Sweeps

Police in the Zimbabwean capital of Harare rounded up scores of street vendors Friday in several of the densely populated suburbs ringing the city, seizing goods and severely beating a number of the informal business people, witnesses said.

Vendors told correspondent Irwin Chifera of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that police arrested numerous vendors despite their presentation of valid business licences.

The raids reminded many vendors and capital residents of the May 2005 crackdown on street vendors which ushered in the slum clearance drive which the government called Operation Murambatsvina (Drive Out Rubbish). The demolition of homes and businesses left at least 700,000 without shelter or livelihood or both, according to a report commissioned by United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...