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Atlanta Police crack down on street vendors

5:02 PM, Apr 3, 2013   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- 100,000 people are expected to come to Atlanta every day this weekend, with thousands of them passing 5 Points and the Underground. 

It's a hot spot for street vendors selling everything from t-shirts to fresh fruit to souvenirs.  But now they are gone.

It's a crackdown by Atlanta Police enforcing a city ordinance (Section 138.15-Obstructing sidewalks) that prohibits street vending.

The push started last December when a Judge threw out a city plan for street vendors to get licenses from a single company. 

It picked up speed last week, just before opening day of the Braves and the upcoming Final Four Weekend.

Vendors who stay in business face stiff fines and jail time.

"The city is going to take a look at other major cities and how they handle public property vending. Look at best practices, what works and what doesn't work," said Carlos Campos of the Atlanta Police Department.

That doesn't work for the vendors

"I am a stadium vendor and yesterday I was told that I could not sell my wares at Turner Field, and it's not just me," said Larry Miller, President of the Atlanta Street Vendors Association.

"I have put everything I own into this now I can't run it. I love this City but this City is wrong," said Stanley Hambrick, an Atlanta street vendor.

Customers who frequent the stands want a compromise.

"I cannot understand what's going on. I can understand cleaning it up but I think the city may have gone from one extreme to the other," said Clarence Ball, a street vendor customer.

But vendors do have an alternative.

The ordinance only pertains to public streets so vendors can make deals and set up stands on private property.

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