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Police prevent water protesters from entering Flint city hall

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

Flint police officers blocked water crisis protesters from entering Flint city hall today.

Chanting “Flint Lives Matter!” and “No Justice, No Peace”, dozens of protesters, dressed in black, marched on city hall to demand lower water billsand continued bottled water distribution.

Organizer Jeff Hawkins says these are demands everyone in Flint should agree with.

“But when it seems like there’s bickering and fighting between mayor and council — and council and council — and all this infighting than the residents are the ones who get left out,” says Hawkins.

Numerous groups took part in the morning march.

“We’re here to show support for the people of Flint,” says Tim Grey, with Redneck Revolt-northern lower Michigan, “We demand that the problems be fixed.”

Dressed in black, dozens of protesters demanded lower water rates and continued bottled water distribution in Flint.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio
Michigan Radio
Dressed in black, dozens of protesters demanded lower water rates and continued bottled water distribution in Flint.

During the three years of Flint’s water crisis, there have been numerous marches and rallies held.   However, unlike many of those marches, this time there was a noticeable police presence.

Motorcycle cops followed the marchers. At city hall, police vehicles blocked the entrance of city hall, officers held back the crowd and a helicopter flew overhead.

Flint Police Chief Tim Johnson says the added security was due to some of the protesters carrying firearms.

The protesters had to settle to hand over their demands to City Administrator Sylvester Jones on the sidewalk. Jones tried to tell the protesters the mayor is working on each of their demands.  But several protesters shouted him down. 

“I don’t think they’re listening,” Jones said as he walked away.

Organizer Jeff Hawkins says Flint’s elected leaders may face angry voters in next month’s primary election.

“If we’re not getting fair representation, we should then make sure we vote people in that we believe will give us fair representation,” says Hawkins.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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