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Vendors Join Dominican Rep. Protest

March 19, 1999

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) _ Hundreds of street vendors joined in protests Friday after police removed them from one of the main commercial streets of the capital.

Vendors who usually stack wares on the sidewalks were instead swarming along Duarte Avenue, where nervous shop owners periodically raised and lowered the steel shutters they use to lock up their stores at night.

``This is bad,″ said Ramon Esteves, owner of the Almacenes Capital store, as vendors shouted and milled in the streets. ``They have to resolve this in some other way than violence.″

The vendors are the latest of several groups to protest against the government over economic worries this week.

``We have to make a living,″ said one street vendor who would not give his name. ``We have families. What they have done is take away our way of making a living.″

Earlier in the week, four days of protests in Salcedo in the north of the country left three people dead and 20 wounded after police exchanged gunfire with protesters demanding new water lines, road repairs and lower gasoline prices.

On Wednesday, protests spread to the capital, where protesters blocked streets with burning tires.

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