In Gabon, following a 48-hour ultimatum, authorities sent the army to stalls from street vendors in the capital. The goal is to get rid of all traders who sell illegally on the sidewalk. It is within the framework of a clean-up operation called “Free the sidewalks” that the soldiers acted on Sunday, June 20 from kl. 4. They started the operation at PK12 outside Libreville.
as reported from Libreville, Yves-Laurent Goma
One by one, the army’s diggers smash the wooden stalls built by the small traders. Yoan, a second-year economics student at Omar Bongo University, tears in his eyes and stares blankly and sees the crime. “The scholarships have been suspended for nine months,” he complains. There is no scholarship. So you see that there they really put their backs to the wall! ”
Octogenarian, mother Marie Thérèse Mougoula served her butter on a small table, and today it seems uneasy: “I was fired, she apologizes. We have to show ourselves where to sell! “
Ditto for Choukrate, a young Beninese woman who supports her family. “I have three little sisters. I’m the one feeding them. My mother is no longer working, my father is dead. It’s serious, I do not know how to do it. “
The excavator continues relentlessly forward. In this corner, traders are trying to save what can still be saved.
Many Gabonese appreciate the firmness of the state. Each seller paid 1000 FCFA in tax per day. Davy Gatien Ovono Obiang, first mayor of the 5th District, believes that the security of the people takes precedence over money. “I’m not happy, he admits, but my problem is to calm and secure pedestrians, so that pedestrians walk on sidewalks.”
The operation, which will extend throughout Libreville and its environs, will last one month.
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