Al-Hassan Orders Removal of Violating Street Vending Kiosks

Interior Minister Raya al-Hassan on Tuesday issued a memo ordering a crackdown on illegal and violating street vending kiosks and tents that sell soft drinks, coffee, tea, food, alcoholic beverages, vegetables and fruits.

In the memo, al-Hassan said illegal and violating kiosks and street vendors are “obstructing traffic and causing traffic accidents on highways and public roads, while some of them do not meet the hygiene and public health requirements.”

“Some of them are also being used in illegal acts such as facilitating immoral acts and selling narcotics,” the minister added.

“Most of them are set up without permissions or written approvals from the municipalities while some of them have municipal permissions but lack licenses to sell alcoholic drinks,” al-Hassan said.

She accordingly gave a five-day deadline for lawbreakers to remove the violations.

Al-Hassan's first move as interior minister was the removal of concrete blocks protecting the ministry's building in Beirut's Sanayeh area. The blocks had obstructed the flow of traffic in the area for around five years.

Al-Hassan is the country's and the Arab world's first female interior minister. She has welcomed the challenge, saying Prime Minister Saad Hariri put his trust in her and gave her "this big responsibility."

"As the first female minister of interior, I have to prove the woman's ability to assume an exceptional portfolio," she said at the handover ceremony from her predecessor, Nouhad al-Mashnouq, who had been in the post for five years.

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