Traders demand the release of detained colleagues in NBG

Aweil Local Market in South Sudan, Photo AkolYam/TRC

Local traders in Aweil are calling on the government to release the three people arrested on Wednesday after protesting over the demolition of small shops built along the roadside.

About a hundred people went on the streets to protest the eviction of vegetable vendors and the demolition of shops that the official said had been erected illegally.

Among those in police custody, two women and a young man were accused of assaulting a police officer who attempted to disperse the protesters.

Some of the protesters who spoke to Akol Yam 91 FM say they are not happy with how the Aweil town municipality treats them.

Many local vegetable sellers say they were chased from the roadsides, selling vegetables and other small goods for survival.

They urged the government to allocate them a piece of land within the main market to continue their activities.

“For us, we are just women who are trying to support our families, we are not rebels, and we shouldn’t be treated this way; how will our families survive.” One of the female protesters.

Another protester said he couldn’t afford to rent a shop because he was doing a small business to support his family to survive.

However, Aweil Town Municipality says it will not reverse the decision to evict all roadside vendors and remove their structures.

Garang Deng Diing is the mayor of Aweil town municipality. He says the three people they have arrested will be arraigned in court.

Diing added that although the issue is being politicized, it will not stop them from organizing Aweil main market.

“Every market is governed, and there is no market that people just come and sit on the roads and start selling; this is not okay, and we are not going to tolerate,” said Diing.

It is not the first time in years that authorities forcefully relocated vegetable sellers and other small businesses to the new location but refused, citing distance and lack of customers.

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