A small crowd camped out inside the building that houses state offices in Detroit Friday.
The group was there to protest Michigan’s emergency manager law, Public Act 4—and the state’s plans to use it in Detroit.
The protest was small and peaceful, if loud, with prayers and song. Tempers did flare briefly when private security guards tried to force protesters to leave.
Reverend D. Alexander Bullock, who leads the Detroit chapter of the Rainbow-Push coalition has helped lead the public pushback against emergency managers--including an effort to put PA 4 up for voter referendum.
He says that “protest will escalate” as the clock ticks down toward March 26, the deadline for the state review team that will decide Detroit’s fate.
“This crowd will grow. This is just the first of a 12-day march madness in Michigan movement.”
Detroit and state officials are trying to hammer out a consent agreement that would let the city avoid an emergency manager.
But Congressman Hansen Clarke says that agreement, which would force Detroit's dramatic restructuring, would result in gutting the city, not re-building it.
“The state, right now, doesn’t have enough money though to help stabilize the city," Clarke argued. "You need money and financial controls and reform.”
Clarke is pushing for federal aid to Detroit--something he admits is a "long shot."