DETROIT (AP) — The Rev. Jesse Jackson and U.S. Rep. John Conyers joined religious and civil rights leaders Thursday to promise protests and possible civil disobedience against Michigan's new emergency manager law that could lead to a takeover of Detroit government.
"We are prepared to go from education, mobilization, litigation, legislation, demonstration and civil disobedience," Jackson said as he and others held a news conference at Detroit's Bethany Baptist Church.
"We want a positive commitment to restoring democracy and economic justice for all citizens." Jackson said.
The Detroit Public Schools and the cities of Flint, Pontiac and Benton Harbor already have state-appointed emergency financial managers. Michigan recently enacted a law expanding the state's power to push aside local government and school officials whose agencies get in financial trouble.
Conyers said the expanded law is "seriously flawed" and said it unfairly targets communities with large numbers of minority group members.
Jackson, a Chicago-based activist, said emergency managers are like dictators with the power to override local democracy, discard union contracts and cut vital public services. He said he is seeking U.S. Justice Department intervention.
The state is evaluating whether Detroit's financial problems merit the naming of an emergency manager. Mayor Dave Bing and the City Council have opposed a state takeover of Detroit and are working on budget-balancing measures.