Food vendors park and protest on National Mall

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Last month, the D.C. council voted to put more teeth behind enforcing keeping food trucks away from the National Mall. Now, Park police can issue fines up to $300 and take you to jail.

"We pay taxes, we're willing to do whatever it takes just like any other small business would, but the thing is, we're not given the chance," said Will Salama.

Salama owns Stuffies Food Truck and is protesting the fact he can't do business on the Mall.

Park police issued several warnings to vendors before people such as Muhammad Liaqat were thrown in jail on Tuesday for unauthorized vending. He said no charges were filed.

"I spent one night in jail for nothing," said Liaqat.

Food vendors decided on Saturday to park and protest on the National Mall but not sell any food. Instead, they had hungry customers sign their petition.

Vendors also say they're put into a lottery system for busy areas during the week in D.C., but there are limitations.

"When you are selected for lottery, most people here will get two to three days a week that you are allowed to work in a busy, congested place," said Salama. "I can't vend two days a week and support my family and pay for my business expenses and pay for my employees and pay taxes when I'm working only two days a week ... at the rate they are going, we are not going to exist. Now it's time either we fight and change the laws or shut it down."


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