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Illegal street vendors take over Makkah's public parks
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 03 - 01 - 2016

MAKKAH — Visitors to public parks and recreation centers in Makkah have complained about the growing numbers of illegal street vendors who sell foodstuffs and various fun games to children. They blamed the negative phenomenon on the absence of monitoring authorities.
The municipality has established parks and recreational facilities in different parts of Makkah spending millions of riyals for the benefit of families, they said.
"These parks have become a hotbed for illegal workers," said Abdullah Haider, adding that the phenomenon would harm children and other visitors.
"Some of these street vendors are children and we don't know what kinds of things they sell to visitors," he added. These people occupy a big part of the greenery in the parks, he said and urged the municipality to conduct a campaign to track down illegal street vendors.
Al-Madinah newspaper visited some of the parks in Makkah and found the presence of a large number of illegal vendors that sell foodstuffs and other products to children.
"We visit these parks with family for fun and relaxation, especially during this time of the year when Makkah has a pleasant weather," said Abdul Khaliq Aburakan.
He said the absence of monitoring authorities has made these parks a safe haven for illegals, who use of these parks to mint money. "They sell unhygienic foodstuffs that could cause health problems to children," he explained.
Aburakan said the illegals have also occupied a big portion of parks to operate various fun games for children. He feared that such games could pose a threat to the safety of visitors.
They asked the municipality to take measures to stop such negative practices in public parks, especially during holidays when the number of such illegal vendors increases. Osama Zaitouni, director of public relations at the municipality, said all fun games in public parks are supervised by the local body.
"The municipality wants to make sure the safety of families and children who visit these parks for entertainment," he added.
Zaitouni said the municipality would ban games that endanger the safety of children. "We don't allow any hazardous games promoted by illegal foreign workers," he said. A committee has been set up to track down illegal workers and deport them, he added.

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