"These are days of mass arrests. As in the streets there are many more people for the holidays, the two areas are full of police, motorcycles, assault cars and inspectors of public space that violently persecuted the vendors. Yesterday they beat a boy of about 20 who wanted to defend a salesman," said Omar Guaraz, head of the Free Vendors organization.
One vendor told Pagina 12, "In the last week we had 50 detainees, and they seek to exterminate us."
Twitter user, Martin Suarez, wrote, “There is deepening persecution and repression against workers: this happens now in Avellaneda and Helguera, Flores. Nearly 30 troops restrained 2 vendors. ‘We have No job and we steal the merchandise,’ I claimed one of them. Neighbors repudiate action of @diegosantilli.”
#URGENTE | Se profundiza persecución y represión contra trabajadores: Esto sucede ahora en Avellaneda y Helguera, Flores. Casi 30 efectivos redujeron a 2 vendedores. "No tenemos trabajo y nos roban la mercadería", exclamo uno de ellos. Vecinos repudian accionar de @diegosantillipic.twitter.com/pzXGNeZ8Ky
A viral video showed police personnel concentrated in two neighborhood markets in Flores and Once, violently forcing vendors out of their booths and triggering retaliation in the streets. According to a recent court decision by Judge Cevasco, any resistance can result in two criminal charges of civil disobedience and civil resistance.
Guaraz said, “Now any vendor is a criminal...Sales have fallen abruptly, many stores closed and that has nothing to do with sellers. The city does not guarantee even the safety of the people who come to buy. The goal...is to exterminate us."
The community leader told reporters that vendor organizations have banded together, requesting dialogue with city authorities, only to be dismissed. Reports show city Police conducting at least 17 arrests daily.