Street vendors rioted in the capital of Malawi after police tried to dismantle their illegal market stall, according to reports.
About 30 people have been arrested in Lilongwe, BBC reported.
Police fired tear-gas and rubber bullets to frighten off other vendors who went on a rampage, attacking cars and looting shops mostly belonging to Chinese and Indian traders.
One shopowner told BBC: I had over 200 men's suits... they are all gone. They have destroyed my life.”
The nation’s military had to be called to restore order to the city. However, many offices, banks and stores were already shut down out of fear of further disturbances.
According to the local Maravi Post newspaper, the U.S. Embassy advised that American citizens in the country exercise ‘caution.’
BBC reported that informal traders are frequently harassed by police who try to shoo them away from the central business district of Lilongwe.
Government officials told Maravi Post that street vending is illegal in order to promote cleanliness and reduce crime.
Malawi in East Africa is one of the poorest nations on earth, with more than 50 percent of the population living in poverty. The country is also wracked by official corruption, HIV-AIDS. Largely an agricultural economy, Malawi sometimes needs food aid from other countries due to frequent droughts and other natural disasters.
The Maravi Post noted that many Western entities -- including the governments of Great Britain, Germany, the US, the International Monitory Fund (IMF) and the European Union – have either reduced or suspended all budget support to Malawi due to poor economic and political governance.