Windsor chapter with the Detroit skyline in the background.
The Council of Canadians Windsor chapter gathered on the riverfront yesterday to say that water is a human right. Chapter activist Randy Emerson says, “We braved the first cold weather and stood with Detroit and Dublin to make water a human right.”
In response, the Detroit Water Brigade posted on their Facebook page, “We feel your solidarity from across the river, Canada!”
Both Windsor and Detroit held rallies in solidarity with the massive November 1 right to water protests in Ireland.
Detroit Water Brigade in solidarity with Irish water protest.
The Independent reports more than 150,000 people in 26 counties across Ireland protested yesterday against their government’s plan to charge for water. “After six years of Troika-demanded austerity, tens of thousands of ordinary people sent a clarion call that opposition against the charges is gathering strength. …More than 90 protests around the country sent a stark message to Fine Gael [governing party] and Labour deputies in their constituencies over the week-end for the Halloween Dail [parliament] recess.”
This follows the massive right to water protest in Ireland of 100,000 people on October 11.
Common Dreams noted, “In an expression of solidarity, residents of Detroit, Michigan—which has faced mass water shutoffs in the face of a similar water privatization effort—are marching on Saturday on Woodward Avenue in Detroit. ‘Detroiters stand in solidarity with the people of Ireland against water charges and the privatization of our public water systems’, wrote organizers with the group Detroit Water Brigade. ‘We are not strangers ourselves to the escalating attacks on the poorest members of society collectively known as austerity.'”
Placard in Irish protest in solidarity with water struggle in Detroit.
As a result of European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank imposed austerity measures, the Irish government is implementing water bills that will range from 176 euros ($248) a year for a single-person household to nearly 500 euros ($705) for a family of four adults. This is in a country where close to half the population have less than €100 ($141) left every month after paying their bills. In Detroit, a family of four pays between $150-200 per month for water and sewerage services – twice the national average – in a city where the median household income is $25,193. and where there is a 23 per cent unemployment rate. The city of Detroit has disconnected the water and sewerage services of 27,000 people this year.
The next major water protest in Ireland has been called for December 10, International Human Rights Day.
Blue Planet Project in solidarity with Irish right to water protests (October 29 blog)
Windsor-Essex chapter organizes solidarity action to challenge Detroit water cutoffs (July 10 blog)