SCORES of vendors were injured in Masvingo Monday after being beaten up by anti-riot police for staging an unsanctioned demonstration against the local authority.
The demonstration came as a result of a standoff between the vendors and city fathers over operational $2 daily fees the vendors are made to pay to the struggling council to sell their wares at Chitima market.
Vendors are resisting efforts by the city council to force them to pay insisting that they can only afford to pay $1 because business is not viable at the popular market place.
Nine members from two Masvingo residents associations were arrested during the skirmishes while several others were injured when riot police used force to displace the protesting residents.
The market place has since been closed indefinitely after Masvingo Provincial Minsiter Shuvai Mahofa personally rushed to the scene to stop the police from further beating up the vendors.
Masvingo United Residents and Ratepayers Association (Murra), in a statement, condemned the move by the council to unleash the riot police at the protesting vendors.
“We condemn in the strongest terms the decision by the council to unleash riot police who exerted brutality to the vendors.
“We call upon the city fathers to follow the peaceful procedures of dialogue with the vendors and their leaders instead of resorting to the hiring brutal riot police to assault innocent residents who are trying to earn a living through vending,” the statement said.