The vendors demanded to first be provided with an alternative area and, only afterwards, be ousted from their workplaces
Early this morning, Yerevan City Hall officials tried, using police forces, to oust vendors from the local market which is popularly referred to as ‘Firdusi’, and wanted to dismantle the market stalls. However, the market vendors disrupted their attempts. On a side note, the market offers relatively cheap goods, mostly clothing. The market vendors, as well as their clients, represent the less privileged layer of the population in Armenia.
A tractor was brought to the site today, but the vendors and residents of the neighboring buildings blocked the road and didn’t allow it to enter the market. Vendors were banned from opening their stalls and were requested to leave the market. However, those who gathered at the market kicked up such a fuss that the municipality officials had to leave the market and take away the equipment.
“They’d better go and put the city center in order. Instead, they come to dismantle the market. We earn our living here. They should think about us at least a little bit. This is the only chance for us to earn at least something. Those who work here, provide for their families and what they earn is hardly enough to feed their family members,” said one of the market vendors.
The municipal authorities decided to construct a 90m. diameter traffic circle in the location of Firdusi market. The market is expected to be moved to another part of the city. However, the project doesn’t have any investors so far. The residents of the neighboring buildings are also concerned about their future fate in case of the launch of construction work.
Back on 5 June, Yerevan Mayor, Taron Margaryan, held a work meeting during which he tasked the relevant officials with engaging in talks with the vendors and offer them an alternative commercial area in the city before the launch of construction work. However, the vendors claim that no-one had discussed the aforesaid issue with them.
Moreover, they weren’t notified that a tractor would arrive in the morning to start dismantling the market. The vendors say they don’t have anything against changing the market’s location, but they wish it happened before the old one is pulled down. Otherwise they will be left unemployed.
“There is nowhere we can go today. What are we supposed to do? Should we leave our goods here and go away? They suddenly came, entered the market and told us they were going to dismantle it. However, we have to provide for our children and families. We shouldn’t be treated like that,” another vendor complained.
In order to prevent violating the rights of the vendors, the issue was urgently discussed at the Armenian Public Defender’s Office. Afterwards, the Public Defender made an appeal to the Yerevan City Hall.
The outraged vendors of the ‘Firdusi’ market demanded to postpone construction work until December and allow them to continue trading. However, City Hall has not responded to the vendors’ request at all so far.