Demonstrators Denied Entry to Michigan Supreme Court

By: Shannon Kantner Email
By: Shannon Kantner Email

What started as a calm protest with a man playing an acoustic guitar, turned intense quickly when demonstrators were denied entry into the court house and began chanting, "Let us in!"

"We're willing to stand up, we weren't expecting this," said Reverend D. Alexander Bullock, a protester from Detroit. "They knew we were coming."

Busloads of protesters from all over the state began arriving at the Hall of Justice around 9:00 a.m. Wednesday to speak out against the Emergency Manager Law.

The Supreme Court justices listened to oral arguments from attorneys on whether a petition that would repeal a state law designed to right financially troubled cities should go before voters. But not everyone was allowed inside, and the action in the court room caused even more action outside.

"We are non-violently aggressive," Bullock said. "We are a bit agitated. We paid as taxpayers for this building, and we can't even see the very proceedings that will decide our right to vote. The doors have been locked. We have been barred out."

About 150 demonstrators made it in, while two state troopers and a security team monitored the crowd on the stairs. They said there wasn't any more inside, but they respected the right of the people to continue protesting. Troopers said the protest remained routine and peaceful.

"It's a little disappointing that we couldn't get inside of the courtroom, but we're pleased that some did make it in and that people did stay after and we waited until they came out of the courtroom so we could continue that energy and the movement," said LaToya Henry, a member of the Stand Up For Democracy group opposing the emergency manager law.

Some feel it's a movement that didn't need to happen in the first place.

"It's a real shame that we have to do that just to see that our basic rights are assured. Even to be able to vote on something," said protester Tova Perlmutter.

Now they have to wait on the votes of the state Supreme Court justices, who will decide if the repeal initiative will be on the ballot.

"We're going to stand here as long as it takes, and we pray that the Michigan Supreme Court does the right thing," Bullock said.

The Supreme Court has to make a decision before Sept. 7, that's the deadline for wording on the ballot.

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