Once the backbone of Bangkok’s renowned roadside economy, thousands of licensed street vendors have spent much of the past two years being shifted to locations they deem less favourable, by authorities bent on improving hygiene and imposing order.
Thailand’s street stalls are usually a magnet for tourists in a country where tourism is a major source of income, and which has welcomed record numbers of travellers in recent years.
The military junta, however, has been keen to improve standards of living, particularly ahead of a general election pencilled in for early next year – the first since it assumed power in 2014.
“The pavement is the pavement. It is not a place to sell things,” said Wanlop Suwandee, the Bangkok governor’s chief adviser. “We are doing this in earnest, to return the pavement to the people.”
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