World

Zimbabwean police drive vendors from city sidewalks in cleanup operation

  • A vendor carries his goods after he was evicted from the streets by Zimbabwean police in Harare, Wednesday, July, 8, 2015. Minor scuffles ensued as police officers drove out thousands of vendors selling their wares on the sidewalks and pavements of Harare. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

    A vendor carries his goods after he was evicted from the streets by Zimbabwean police in Harare, Wednesday, July, 8, 2015. Minor scuffles ensued as police officers drove out thousands of vendors selling their wares on the sidewalks and pavements of Harare. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)  (The Associated Press)

  • A Zimbabwean vendor ponders his next move after he had his wares removed by police from the streets of Harare, Wednesday, July, 8, 2015. Minor scuffles ensued as police  officers drove out thousands of vendors selling their wares on the sidewalks and pavements of Harare. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

    A Zimbabwean vendor ponders his next move after he had his wares removed by police from the streets of Harare, Wednesday, July, 8, 2015. Minor scuffles ensued as police officers drove out thousands of vendors selling their wares on the sidewalks and pavements of Harare. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)  (The Associated Press)

  • Vendors hold placards written in the local language, shona, saying they will not move after they were removed from the streets of Harare, Wednesday, July, 8, 2015. Minor scuffles ensued as police officers drove out thousands of vendors selling their wares on the sidewalks and pavements of Harare. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

    Vendors hold placards written in the local language, shona, saying they will not move after they were removed from the streets of Harare, Wednesday, July, 8, 2015. Minor scuffles ensued as police officers drove out thousands of vendors selling their wares on the sidewalks and pavements of Harare. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)  (The Associated Press)

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.