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Ethnic Cleansing in America: Want To Get Rid of Poor People? — In Detroit They Just Shut Off Their Water

Photo by Camera Eye Photography.
Photo by Camera Eye Photography.

By BILL QUIGLEY
A jury trial is underway in Detroit for human rights activists arrested for blocking trucks which were going to cutoff water to low-income families.
RELATED STORY: Detroiters Vow Resistance After Judge Rules There is No Human Right to Water
On July 18, 2014, dozens of people successfully blocked the trucks of the Homrich Inc., a private wrecking company that the City of Detroit contracts with to carry out water shutoffs. The trucks were leaving to cutoff water for Detroiters who were more than $150 past due on payments. After an eight hour blockade nine people were arrested.
RELATED STORY: Detroit — The New Style of Ethnic Cleansing Begins: The Dispersal of Urban Black America
Those on trial said civil disobedience was their only option to address the grave public health crisis of mass water shutoffs, since the City of Detroit was under emergency management, which effectively strips all elected officials of decision-making power. One of the people on trial is Bill Wylie-Kellermann, pastor of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Detroit. He told The Detroit News “It was, at the time, the last vestige of democracy in the city.”

Defendant Marian Kramer of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization and Highland Park Human Right Coalition highlighted what she sees as the irony of the City criminally charging and prosecuting defendants for nonviolent defense of Detroiters’ right to water. “The true crime is that thousands of people who are struggling to pay their water bills are being deprived of a basic necessity of life. Instead of implementing the Water Affordability Plan, which would tie water rates to income and which Detroit City Council supports, the Mayor chooses to shut off the water of thousands of Detroiters. Who is the real criminal?”

Detroit announced last month it has already cut off water to more than 16,000 residences and warned another 49,000 that their water will be shut off soon. People whose water has been shutoff are living in homes using buckets of water from neighbors and family.

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