In December, a Tunisian fruit vendor lit himself on fire to protest harassment by a government official and incited uprisings throughout the Middle East.
Tuesday night, New York street vendors gathered to commemorate Mohammed Bouazizi’s sacrifice and show their solidarity during a candle-light vigil outside City Hall.
Many in the crowd expressed frustration and detailed instances of harassment at the hands of New York authorities.
Soledad Pabon, 53, a vendor from Astoria, Queens, choked back tears as she addressed the scores of protesters.
“I identify a lot with Mohammed Bouazizi,” Pabon said in broken English. “God knows on my way back home I have been crying tears and very sad because the police had taken my property, my merchandise. I think when he was killed he told us to stand up for our rights. God bless him.”