Protesters call for immediate moratorium on Detroit water shut-offs

Jun 30, 2014

Protesters voiced their anger Monday morning over the controversial water shut-offs in Detroit.

The National Action Network Detroit Chapter and community activists gathered in front of the governor's midtown office.
The National Action Network Detroit Chapter and community activists gathered in front of the governor's midtown office.
Credit Reem Nasr/Michigan Radio

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department sent out more than 46,000 shut-off notices this spring and has turned off water to about 4,500 customers.

Community activists and religious leaders met outside of Gov. Rick Snyder's midtown office. They asked him to impose an immediate moratorium on the shut-offs. They also want the city to work out an affordable payment plan based on a person's income.

The Rev. Charles Williams II said the city is powerless because it is under emergency management, so he is taking his complaint to Lansing.

"We have a water board that can’t make decisions because they have an emergency manager that they have to speak to," said Williams. "So in our opinion, this fight is with Gov. Snyder." 

Last week, the United Nations said the city's decision to cut off water to residents who haven't paid their bills may violate their human rights.

"How embarrassing is it for the United Nations to have to step in and say the city of Detroit is doing the wrong thing to its own citizens," added Williams. 

A spokesperson for the water department says there already is a payment plan for residents who cannot afford to make their payments.

A follow-up protest is scheduled for the middle of next month.

– Reem Nasr, Michigan Radio Newsroom