Wednesday , 6 July 2022
From the very beginning of the crisis, the number of wandering merchants and backstreet traders settling their foldable stores over Antananarivo city' sidewalks has been regularly shooting up. One of their thousands on the streets of Tana is named Hery. Things used to be different earlier. He used to serve as security agent in a knitting factory. Then the factory finally had to shut down at the beginning of the year 2010.

Hery trades on the streets and dares the odds

Hery was standing there, a placard in the hands, standing tall to the police forces deployed by Antananarivo city’s municipal office. On June 19th, the unregistered traders occupying the capital city streets on a daily basis led a protest demonstration near the City Hall’s building. They have been put in the picture about the municipal power’s intentions to drive them away and decided to give it a piece of their mind. The city hall wanted to put the complete street section of Ambodifilao at their disposal. Neither the traders nor the concerned district’s inhabitants bought it. As for Hery, he and a significant score of his colleagues would prefer an advantageous stalemate. They know well that they would not possible make both ends meet forever with illegal labor conditions. Hery sells sunglasses made in China, imported and distributed by Indian traders in Antananarivo. His pal, Kelly, sells remote control devices of various types. The political crisis in 2009 drove many factories abroad, and many more workers who used to work there, including Hery and Kelly for instance, to the street. Their greatest wish is the recovery of work in factories, or, for want of a miracle, the opportunity to trade on the street in peace, without municipal security agents or police forces on their heels. The situation is not easy either for security forces trapped between a rock and a hard place. On one side, municipal officials are longing for cleasing the capital city streets, return sidewalks to passers-by and streets to cars and drivers. On the other side, they are not remotely interested in making several thousands of wandering traders go angry and potentially dangerous. Hery and those of his kind were actually bound to put up a gallant fight.