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Detroit police handcuff Democratic congressional candidate at pro-union rally

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

At least 18 people, including Democratic congressional candidate Rashida Tlaib, were taken into police custody at a pro-union rally in downtown Detroit Tuesday.

Starting at just after 1 p.m., several hundred Fight for 15 demonstrators blocked eastbound traffic on Woodward Avenue, raising their voices and blocking traffic.

Chanting “All I want is 15 dollars,” marchers made their way to a McDonald’s fast food restaurant.

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio
Michigan Radio
Fight for 15 protesters outside a Detroit McDonald's

Detroit police largely stood back and allowed the protesters to make speeches. But eventually, when protesters refused to abandon a table and chairs set up in the street, police officers started handcuffing people, leading them to a waiting bus.

More than a dozen people face a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge, including former Democratic candidate for governor Abdul El-Sayed.  

The rally drew fast food workers and Democratic politicians. Organizer Reverend W-J Rideout says the politicians have to come get their vote.

“If you want the vote, you got to give us the unions and the livable wage. We want 15,” says Rideout.

Many at the march in Detroit had attended what was supposed to be a similar event in Flint earlier in the day.

But the Flint event was marred by an accident that sent more than a half dozen people to the hospital.Fight for 15 protesters were injured when a driver drove a pickup into a crowd marching up Dort Highway.

Flint Police say the incident is believed to have been an accident. 

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer was taking part in the Flint march. She was not among those injured. Whitmer did not attend the Detroit rally.  

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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