Wrangling with words

San Lorenzo seeks peaceful solution to crisis between merchants and street vendors

Editorial Staff
May 31, 2007

After months of heated disputes and physical altercations between shop-keepers and illegal street vendors in the historic San Lorenzo quartiere, the two sides have finally moved toward an amicable resolution. When two young Senegalese men were injured in a confrontation with police during an argument with merchants, both parties opted to wrangle with words instead of with brawn.  In a roundtable discussion held at the Senegalese Consulate, city officials, merchants and street vendors sat face to face and voiced their grievances and concerns freely and calmly.


The two sides began reconciling their needs by focusing on policy solutions. First and foremost, the ‘Senegalese community needs to stop selling counterfeit goods’ said honorary consul Eraldo Stefani in a statement following the meeting. Stefani further stated that the city of Florence must in turn place increased pressure on officials in Rome to quickly push forward a proposed decree that would introduce a temporary six-month permit for those in search of work.


Health and safety superintendent Graziano Cioni asserted that the principles of justice and legality must be upheld and pursued by the Senegalese community. ‘The illegal sale of counterfeit goods will no longer be tolerated in San Lorenzo. Vendors must stop selling in the streets until they have legal work and stay permits’ he affirmed. Cioni announced that a no-tolerance policy will be in effect in San Lorenzo until the parties meet again in upcoming weeks to further discuss the issue.

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