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Published: Monday, 7/21/2014

Detroit, under fire for shutting off water to the poor, says it will take 15-day break


DETROIT — The city of Detroit says it won’t shut off water to people with unpaid bills for the next 15 days, the latest response to a controversy that caused a large protest last week.

The city gave an update Monday in bankruptcy court.

The water department stopped service to about 7,200 homes and businesses in June, compared to 1,570 in the same month last year. Water was restored to 43 percent after customers paid or worked out payment plans.

The issue gained wide attention when activists appealed to the United Nations for assistance. Separately, about 2,000 people protested last week during a national convention of liberal Democratic activists.

Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes says people “need their water,” although he suggested he wouldn’t order any specific action.

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