They had sent out a notice to the press the previous afternoon, and camera operators attended.
Typically street vendors have a sense when the police are going to crack down and confiscate their goods. Municipal police officers have been waging a battle against the vendors for years. In some cases, the small-scale sales operations have moved from the major streets into side streets where they are less likely to be bothered by the authorities.
Tuesday municipal officers, immigration agents and representatives of the Patronato Nacional de la Infancia took
part in the effort. The Patronato was there because children frequently are working with their parents. Immigration was there because many street vendors are not in the country legally.
The Fuerza Pública was there because in the past vendors battled municipal police to a draw.
In addition to blocking the passage on the major pedestrian walkways, many vendors sell counterfeit goods, like CDs, and sometimes stolen items.
Teams of police spent the day patrolling the center city, but not much success was reported.
Police officials consulted with the Defensoría de los Habitantes before conducting the sweep. The nation’s ombudsman frequently has taken the side of vendors.