Vegetable stall operators in a Lebanese city are so angry that they’re being moved to another location that they began stabbing themselves at a demonstration Tuesday. Among them were several who mutilated themselves so severely, they required medical attention, Lebanese media reported.
Lebanon’s Daily Star newspaper explained that the vendors in the coastal city of Sidon oppose a municipality plan to move them off the streets and into an organized fruit and vegetable market.
The men who called the city decision an “injustice” stabbed themselves with knives as they protested, showing their bloody wounds to the television cameras. One man shown on LBC television had multiple stab wounds to his abdomen that were dripping with blood.
According to the Daily Star, some of the self-inflicted wounds were superficial, while others required a trip to the hospital to stop the bleeding.
“If I don’t return to the street where I used to sell, I will keep stabbing myself,” vendor Khodr Ghazali told the Daily Star.
The Sidon municipality has been trying for at least two years to move the unlicensed vegetable carts off the streets of the city.
Vendors who were previously forced to move to an organized market said their sales had been impacted.
But Sidon’s Merchant Association favors the city’s efforts to end the chaotic positioning of the vegetable carts, which in some cases sit in front of other shop’s entrances.
Dozens took part in Tuesday’s protest which followed a police crackdown earlier this month on unlicensed vendors in the city.
In December 2010, a Tunisian street vendor set himself on fire, a protest that was widely viewed to have sparked the Tunisian revolution which in turn inspired other so-called Arab Spring revolutions.
This Arabic television report from LBC shows one of the vendors who stabbed himself: