About 130 street vendors held a one-day strike in the District yesterday to protest "harassment" by police.
"We want citizens to feel how they would suffer if there were no vendors on the street," said organizer James Shabazz.
The vendors said police are giving them too many tickets for "phony" violations and that the D.C. government is removing vending areas by erecting park benches, installing flower pots and creating loading zones.
Sgt. Joe Gentile, a police spokesman, said police are trying to enforce the law in response to citizen complaints. He said vendors have the right to go to court and contest tickets if they believe they are unfair.
The protesters gathered in front of the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs building at H and Sixth streets NW and then marched to the District Building, where Shabazz delivered a letter to Mayor Marion Barry's office.
Earlier this year, the vendors attempted to get an initiative on the November ballot that would decriminalize vendor permit violations, abolish street patrols of vendors and expand the area where vendors may set up shop, but the initiative was rejected by the D.C. Board of Elections, which said it was improperly worded.
Vendors said they will try again next spring.