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Police target souvenir-sellers

Tourists witness violent clashes at the foot of the Eiffel Tower as riot police move in to remove illegal street vendors

RIOT police in Paris have clashed with souvenir-sellers at the Eiffel Tower, as authorities launch a crackdown on illegal street trade in the capital.

Three CRS officers were injured on Sunday afternoon at the foot of the monument when they moved in to remove the vendors, who retaliated by throwing stones and bottles.

The clash was witnessed by hundreds of tourists, and visitors who had come to watch the homeless football world cup currently taking place on the Champ de Mars.

Police believe there are up to 300 illegal vendors working in the area, most of whom are African. They sell cheap replica Eiffel Towers, magnets, keyrings and bottled water.

Officials are reinforcing their spot checks and systematically arresting people. They say about 50 vendors are arrested in Paris every day and hundreds of kilograms of material seized.

According to Le Parisien, one vendor is recovering in hospital after he ran across a metro line to escape a police check on Friday and was electrocuted.

Photo: re-ality/Flickr

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