As Detroit’s water provider continues to carry out its plan to turn off the taps for tens of thousands of nonpaying customers across the city, activists are resorting to civil disobedience in an attempt to stop what they call a human rights violation.
Some 50 demonstrators on Thursday held a protest outside the offices of Homrich, a company contracted by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) to stop the flow to residences at least two months past due on their accounts. At least nine of the activists were arrested by Detroit police and charged with disorderly conduct when they temporarily blocked trucks from leaving the company’s parking lot. They were released on bail hours later.
While the protest was relatively small, activists say it’s a sign of things to come if DWSD continues shutting off water lines. The activists say that in a city with a poverty rate of 44 percent, and where water bills are higher than in much of the country, Detroit should work out a solution with poor residents instead of leaving them dry. Otherwise, they say, they’ll have no other choice but to take to the streets.