The Nationalist Congress Party on Thursday strongly condemned Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) Chief Raj Thackeray’s statement threatening to suppress the city’s hawkers from staging a demonstration at Azad Maidan.

Earlier, Mr. Thackeray had viciously targeted migrant hawkers in the State, hurling barbs and warning that his party workers would not hesitate to show their “strength” if the hawkers went ahead with their demonstration scheduled to take place on January 21.

Speaking to reporters, NCP spokesman Nawab Malik said hawkers were poor people and should not be discriminated as Marathi or non-Marathi.

“The right to peaceful protest is guaranteed under our constitution and nobody can take law into their hands by threatening to browbeat a person or any organisation,” Mr. Malik said, hitting out at Mr. Thackeray’s invective against hawkers.