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Protesters take over I-70, demanding protections for renters, homeowners

The organizers want Missouri Gov. Mike Parson to take action including rent and mortgage suspension

ST. LOUIS — From St. Louis to Kansas City, protesters are lining Interstate 70 to demand Missouri Gov. Mike Parson "stand up for tenants" before rent is due next month.

The Coalition to Protect Missouri organized the event. Sixty "grassroots leaders" will park along the shoulder of the interstate at noon on Monday, according to a press release. The organizers and tenants will put their hazard lights on and stage a direct action, according to the website of one of the participating organizations, KC Tenants.

"By doing this, we will call attention to the urgency of the crisis and the need for statewide action," the organization's website said. "This is not just a Kansas City and St. Louis problem. Folks all over the state need a rent and mortgage cancellation and we are (safely) violating the stay-at-home order to demand Governor Parson act before May 1st, when rent is due and tens of thousands won't be able to pay."

The organizers are demanding the state take the following actions:

  • Institute a rent/mortgage suspension 
  • Enact an immediate, comprehensive statewide eviction/foreclosure moratorium 
  • Ban utility shut-offs and mandate universal service 
  • Provide homes and expanded services for people experiencing homelessness 

To read the organization's entire list of demands, click here.

Some municipalities in the St. Louis area have already taken steps to help renters and homeowners. St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson announced last month there would be a moratorium on evictions during the coronavirus pandemic. Krewson also ordered the water department to stop all water shut-offs until at least May 15.

5 On Your Side reached out to Parson's office regarding the protesters' demands and did not receive a response. However, during Parson's coronavirus briefing Monday afternoon, Parson said he had no plans to institute statewide declarations that would freeze rent or mortgage payments.

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