Minor scuffles broke out as Zimbabwean police made good on a pledge to drive vendors from the capital's crowded sidewalks.

Michael Chideme, Harare city council spokesman, said Wednesday was the first day of a cleanup drive that would continue until vendors set up shop only in permitted areas.

Many vendors in the city center continued to do business while police targeted other areas.

Last month vendors asked the government to stop the evictions but Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere told city councils to proceed with the operation.

At first, the government threatened to use army troops to evict the vendors, but a court ruled against the use of force.

The city council said it has space for 6,000 vendors but about 20,000 are operating within the central business district.