NEW JERSEY (FOX 5 NY) - Steps away from the glitz and glam of the MTV Video Music Awards, hundreds of Newark protesters chanted, “Whatdo we want? Clean water! When do we want it? Now!”
The demonstrators marched from Newark’s Penn station towards the Prudential Center, venting their anger over the tainted water situation.
Police tried to hold the group back from getting too close to the people in town to celebrate the award show.
At least five people were arrested after trying to crash secure areas of the concert. Many said the VMA’s should have been canceled as the city deals with its lead contamination.
“I’m here because no mother should have to go through what I did when I got the news when my child was lead poisoned,” said Danielle Fienberg, a former resident of Newark, “When we tested my house, everything was free of lead except for the water, now my son has lifelong damage from the water.”
“It’s not an accident that this is basically a town of people of color, of low income people and it happens like Flint again, in our city,” said David Hughes, one of Monday night’s protesters.
The protest came just hours after Newark announced it procured a $120 million loan to replace all water pipes made of lead.
"It goes without saying that this is a situation that none of us welcomed, but which we are all committed to getting right for the city of Newark and especially for the residents who rely on getting clean water," said Governor Phil Murphy.
Officials say the money will dramatically reduce the amount of time it will take to replace those lines, from about ten years to less than three.
For people like Ms. Fienberg, though, it’s too little too late, “we had the technology to fixthis 20 years ago, why wasn’t it done then?”