Update: Police say 24 protesters were arrested, fewer than the number claimed by organizers.
Police arrested dozens of fast-food workers rallying for higher wages in Detroit on Thursday morning.
The protesters for the first time resorted to civil disobedience by locking arms and blocking Mack Avenue at the border of Grosse Pointe Farms, prompting more than two dozen police from both cities to make between 25 and 50 arrests, organizers said.
“These workers are willing to do whatever it takes in the fight to get $15 an hour,” said Pastor W.J Rideout, III of All God’s People Church in Detroit, adding that the recent raise in minimum wage is “still not a living wage.”
Depending on whom you believe, 100 to 300 fast food workers gathered to rally Thursday morning. Among them was Tiffany Davis, a 32-year-old mother of three who said she can’t survive on minimum wage.
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“I can’t even afford to bring my kids to McDonald’s to eat. Even at part-time, if we could get to $15 an hour, it would make a big difference,” Davis said.
Detroit police said 24 protesters were detained and quickly released. They will be charged with disorderly conduct. An additional six were arrested for having outstanding traffic warrants.
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“The Detroit Police Department recognizes the right for citizens to assemble and protest,” the police department said in a press release. “However, it must be understood that there are still laws as it pertains to protesting. Citizens engaged in protesting cannot become disorderly, block or impede the movement of other citizens or attempt to infringe on the rights of other citizens.”
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The protest is part of a nationwide campaign to increase wages at fast food restaurants.
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.
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