Bangladeshi Street Vendors in Jackson Heights Speak Up on May Day

Marching through Jackson Heights (Photo from Desis Rising Up & Moving's Twitter page via News India Times)

Marching through Jackson Heights (Photo from Desis Rising Up & Moving’s Twitter page via News India Times)

Dozens of street vendors, along with construction, domestic, restaurant and retail workers aired their grievances at a rally and march in Jackson Heights’ Diversity Plaza on May 1 as part of International Workers’ Day, reports News India Times. They said the Jackson Heights Bangladeshi Business Association (JBBA) forced them to leave their work.

Street vendor Mohammad Biswas said that the JBBA invited police officers into the neighborhood April 27 and held a meeting where they claimed “street vendors are the cause of crime, disturbance, and illegal activity.” But people like Biswas questioned JBBA about the basis of such charges and asked for proof for such allegations. “We keep this neighborhood safe by building a sense of community,” he said.

After the meeting NYPD officers allegedly came out and threatened several of the street vendors that they would be arrested if they came back the following day. None of the street vendors have worked since April 27 for fear of being fined or arrested.

One street vendor described a very different relationship with the businesses 20 years ago. Go to News India Times to read more.

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