The first major protest against Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan took place outside the Redford Theater the evening of Feb. 10 as Duggan delivered his second annual “State of the City” address. Duggan is the first white mayor of Detroit in 40 years and a political cohort of right-wing Gov. Rick Snyder.
Protesters demanded the mayor declare a state of emergency in the city due to 30,000 water shutoffs last year; 62,000 tax foreclosures looming this year; and no end to chronic unemployment and growing poverty. They demanded Duggan stop all water shutoffs; put a moratorium on foreclosures; restore retirees’ pensions and health benefits stolen by the banks during the city’s recent bankruptcy; and boot the Veolia corporation out of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.
The boisterous demonstration was multinational, with youth and older activists crowding the sidewalk by the theater, undeterred by the large police presence. “Corporate money well spent, Duggan works for the 1 percent!” was one of the popular chants. The protest ended with a “people’s state of the city speakout.”
Initiated by the Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions & Utility Shutoffs, the action was endorsed and participated in by such other groups as Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association (DAREA); Detroit Eviction Defense; People’s Water Board; FIST (Fight Imperialism, Stand Together); and the Detroit Light Brigade.