5 arrested as activists demand clean water in Newark
With all eyes on the Prudential Center for the VMAs, activists used it as their chance to demand clean drinking water.
Protesters marched through Newark, chanting and pushing their way through police. They say Monday's announcement of a loan to replace lines is something they hope will work, but aren't confident in just yet.
"The city of Newark has welcomed the VMAs into town, and they are using all kinds of resources in order to protect these celebrities, and yet Newark does not have clean water," says Anthony Diaz, founder of the Newark Water Coalition.
Five people were arrested. Newark Police Director Anthony Ambrose said in a statement, "We knew the protesters were coming and we set aside an area for them to gather, in support of their constitutional rights. Apparently, some were not satisfied with that arrangement and they tried to breach secure areas."
Earlier Monday, Gov. Phil Murphy, Mayor Ras Baraka and Essex County officials announced a solution to the city's water crisis -- a $120 million low-interest loan from the county that will expedite the process and cost residents nothing.
"I think it's a start. One of the issues that we have is that every program that the city has come out with, the filter program, the water distribution program, the lead service line program, the educational program -- there's holes that can be poked into each and everyone of them," says Diaz. "So it's like OK, you have this money you have this great plan but will you be able to execute?"
Under the city's previous plan, it would have taken a decade to replace the lines, but the new plan will reduce the plan to around 30 months.