In Midst of Shutoffs, Protesters 'Liberate' Water from Detroit Mayor's Mansion

Over a dozen protesters on Tuesday converged at the Detroit mayor’s publicly-funded mansion and “liberated” his water supply, in a creative direct action highlighting the inequities that underlie the city’s mass water shutoffs and resultant humanitarian crisis.

Campaigners from the Detroit and Michigan Coalitions Against Tar Sands went to Mike Duggan’s “Manoogian Mansion” and filled jugs of water from a hose attached to an external spigot. They carried banners that read “Water is Life” and “Thousands of Kids Without Water.”

“While real Detroiters live in a crisis, the Mayor lives in a city-owned mansion,” declared Detroit resident Valerie Jean in a press statement. “Today we’re forcing Mayor Duggan to share his water with the people of Detroit.”

“Denying tens of thousands of people the right to water ought to be criminal,” Jean added. “Doing it while living in a publicly funded, city-owned mansion is just despicable.”

In particular, protesters said they were taking action “because of Mayor Duggan’s refusal to support a Water Affordability Plan.” Grassroots groups and residents have long been pushing for the plan, which aims to make water affordable and accessible for the city’s residents.