A convoy of slow-moving vehicles that brought traffic to a crawl on I-75 in Detroit Thursday turns out to have been part of a political protest against emergency financial managers, according to a local activist.
Last Friday, Gov. Rick Snyder declared a financial emergency in Detroit, based on the findings of a state review team. In a speech that day, he argued that state intervention could help Detroit "develop solutions to fix the city's finances, stop the cycle of overspending ... and collectively get Detroit on the path to being a great city once again."
Though Detroit's City Council will attempt to change Snyder's mind at a hearing in Lansing on Tuesday, the governor is likely to appoint an emergency financial manager for the city.
Stephen Boyle of the group FREE Detroit-NO Consent told The Huffington Post the traffic action was organized by a loose coalition of local citizens opposed to the appointment of a Detroit EFM.
"We basically decided, if [the state was] not going to listen to the public, the public was going to slow down traffic," Boyle said. "If we slow down traffic, maybe people will stop and listen for a moment, as to what's going on. This isn't business as usual."
According to Boyle, several members of the slow-moving caravan were heading to an afternoon protest in front of 211 W. Fort St., a downtown Detroit building where a number of federal prosecutor offices are located. At that rally, members of the National Action Network and others called on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate the expected takeover of the city by the state.
Boyle said protesters are concerned that appointing an EFM to Detroit would disenfranchise voters, which he believes is a violation of the U.S. constitution.
"Government is elected by the public to serve the public, it's not elected to serve its own interests, he said. "The state wants to take the city's assets and make them its own -- privatization of our school system, lighting, water... everything we have, including our parks."
Although Boyle knew about the action, he said he did not ride in any of the vehicles. State police eventually stopped the mini traffic jam and gave citations to the drivers of nine vehicles for traveling under the speed limit, according to MLive.
"We're not so much concerned about the protest as them endangering other motorists," Lt. Mike Shaw told MLive.