Street vendor troubles

For years, street vendors and authorities in San Salvador have been engaged in conflict. The vendors, who set up shop to sell everything from T-shirts to pupusas to illegally copied DVDs and much more, clog the streets and sidewalks in central San Salvador. Their unsanctioned stalls cause traffic congestion and irritate established merchants in nearby buildings. This informal economy, however, represents a livelihood, albeit a meager one, for hundreds or thousands of Salvadorans.

From time to time, the authorities take action against the vendors, primarily seeking to limit the locations where they can sell their goods. The conflicts with authorities have recently flared up. During the August festivals, street vendors blocked the progress of the opening parade, the Desafile de Correos, with protests.

This week street vendors caused disturbances described in La Prensa Grafica and El Diario de Hoy in the center of the city. Authorities had dislodged vendors from their stalls along one street on Tuesday. Vendors have protested, including setting fire to tires, rock throwing, and barricading streets.