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Detroit residents block company disconnecting water services

Photo from The Daily Rupert.

Photo from The Daily Rupert.

The Council of Canadians condemns the unwarranted arrests this morning of Detroit residents who blocked the entrance to Homrich Wrecking Inc., the company contracted to shut-off residential water service. Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow says, “We are outraged to hear that residents acting to make sure their neighbours have drinking water were arrested this morning. We stand in solidarity with the Detroit residents asserting one of their most basic human rights.”

The Detroit Free Press reports, “Detroit police arrested an estimated 10 people, including several clergy members, during a protest of city water shutoffs this morning. Protesters carried signs and blocked, at least temporarily, the entrance to a dispatch center for the company that facilitates Detroit’s controversial program to shut off water service for nonpayment.”

InterOccupy.net notes, “Among them were a retired religious sister, two pastors, a member of Detroit School Board, a veteran journalist, a building manager, and a local seminary professor. Several were grandparents of children in Detroit.”

“With a banner that read, ‘Stop the Water Shut-offs’ they blocked the 2660 East Grand Boulevard entrance to Homrich Wrecking Inc., the private corporation contracted to shut-off residential water service. Homrich is under at $5.6 million two-year contract. The group appealed to Homrich workers to honor the international human right of access to water. They delivered copies of the June 1, 2014 complaint filed with the United Nations on behalf of Detroiters, along with the response of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Safe Water and Sanitation…”

The Detroit Free Press article adds, “The Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellermann, pastor of St. Peter Episcopal Church in Detroit, was among those arrested. He said the group of a few dozen protesters arrived about 6:30 a.m. and began blocking the gates to the facility on East Grand Boulevard about 7 a.m. today. He said that police tried to ‘move us forcibly, and we sat down’. Then officers began arresting protesters. ‘We’re here to appeal to the workers to stop shutting off the water’, he said, speaking from the rear window of a police car.”

You can follow this story on Twitter at the Detroit Water Brigade and by searching the hashtags #WageLove, #DetroitWater and #watershutoffs.

For raw video of the arrests this morning, click here.