They had gathered to know when they would get an audience with the DSCC mayor
Hawkers on Tuesday blocked roads in Dhaka's Gulistan area to protest eviction from the city's sidewalks.
Members of the Hawkers Songram Parishad, Hawkers Oikya Parishad, and Hawkers Union blocked the road around 11am and demanded to meet Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) Mayor Sayeed Khokon.
Confirming the incident to the Dhaka Tribune, Shahbag Police Station Inspector Abul Bashar said: "Around 1,500 hawkers from Gulistan, New Market, Paltan and other areas gathered to protest after being evicted from the sidewalks.
"After eviction, they had been assured an audience with the DSCC mayor to reach an amicable solution," he added.
The police official added that the hawkers had gathered to know when they would be able to sit with the mayor.
When contacted, the mayor's office said that they had not spoken to anybody over the issue yet.
DSCC Public Relations Officer Uttam Kumar Roy said: “We have not spoken to anyone yet. The mayor [Sayeed Khokon] did not come to the office today.”
The protestors left Gulistan around 5pm when the mayor did not show up.
Dhaka Tribune could not immediately reach any of the protestors for a comment on their demands.
However, other sources informed that the hawkers wanted to meet the mayor to renegotiate sitting on the sidewalks every day, as opposed to during holidays only.
However, MA Kashem, president of Hawkers Federation—a group which is not allied with the protestors—said that they had previously held a meeting with the mayor and the deputy commissioner on Monday.
"At the meeting, registered hawkers in Motijheel received the permission to operate on sidewalks in the area, every day after 3pm," said MA Kashem.
Currently, hawkers have the permission to sit on sidewalks during holidays in 11 areas of Dhaka—six in Dhaka North City Corporation and five in DSCC.
“But they [the protestors] want to sit every day, in all areas and at all times,” Kashem added.