Vendors protest canopy controversy

WEST PHILADELPHIA - December 3, 2009

Vendors are fighting to protect a canopy that construction workers are poised to tear down. So they tied themselves to the posts. These vendors believe if the canopy that runs along 52nd Street from Market to Walnut is tore down, they will be stripped of their livelihood.

"The canopy, it protects not only us, it protects the community. The community wasn't asked first how they felt about it. They just tried to sneak in and tear it down," vendor Khalil Muhammad said.

Vendors say once the canopy comes down the city will allow them to move to a lot on 51st and Market, but protesters argue vendors were at the canopy location even before the successful businesses and losing their presence along the strip will not only hurt their bottom line, but the character of the community.

"We just want a rightful input on the redevelopment plan of 52nd Street. We're willing to work with the proper departments to get that far," Roberto Goito of the Philadelphia Vendor Association said.

After several hours, workers received word to break down for the night.

A city consultant told them they would be back at the bargaining table with vendors on Friday.

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