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North Lebanon watermelon street vendors protest fines
Watermelon street vendors protest over fines aimed at curbing the practice in Tripoli, north Lebanon, on Saturday, June 23, 2012. (The Daily Star/Antoine Amrieh)
Watermelon street vendors protest over fines aimed at curbing the practice in Tripoli, north Lebanon, on Saturday, June 23, 2012. (The Daily Star/Antoine Amrieh)
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TRIPOLI, Lebanon: Watermelon street vendors protested Saturday in Tripoli over fines aimed at curbing the practice in the country’s second largest city.

With cars and pick-up trucks, the street vendors held their protest in front of Tripoli’s municipality, which led to heavy traffic, prompting the municipality’s police to step in and help reopen the roads.

Tripoli’s Mayor Dr. Nader Ghazal said the decision to fine the watermelon vendors came as part of a general scheme introduced a year earlier to penalize street vendors.

“Would it be right to fine street vendors and allow these [watermelon] carriages to remain on the main streets?” he asked.

Ghazal said practices by street vendors were harming licensed businesses in the city.

“Does it make sense that in these economic conditions we facilitate in [affecting] licensed businesses by allowing a number of street carriage near these venues?” he asked.

“We don’t want to hurt anyone’s livelihoods. At the same time we will not allow anyone to break the law and harm the livelihoods of residents who pay heavily in terms of the rent for their stores as well as our being keen on implements decision taken by the municipality away from politics,” he added.

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