Detroiters protest Smiley and West event at City Hall

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Detroiters have gathered at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center to protest an event hosted by Tavis Smiley and Cornel West.

West and Smiley host a nationally syndicated public radio program and have faced sharp criticism for their stance against President Obama. They have launched an event they call the "Poverty Tour."

Councilwoman Joann Watson is also coming under fire for letting them into City Hall and hosting the presentation.

Both Smiley and West told Action News reporter Val Clark that the event is not an anti-Obama tour, but do say they believe the President hasn't done enough for the poor.

A spokesperson for the community organization "Detroiters for Better Government" says Detroiters will stand united against this event.

"We will not stand silent as Smiley and West criticize the man who brought us health care reform, one of the greatest accomplishments for the poor in our nation's history," says David Stephen. This event has nothing to do with the poor and everything to do with enriching Tavis Smiley. Detroit must send a strong message to Washington that although some elected officials may support this anti-Obama rally on government property, the people do not."

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