By Vickie Thomas

DETROIT (WWJ) – Protesters started arriving in the pre-dawn hours ahead of Gov. Rick Snyder’s testimony on Monday in the federal trial to determine if Detroit is eligible for bankruptcy.

A key issue is whether the city held “good-faith” talks with creditors before the filing. Unions and pension funds say no.

City of Detroit retiree Donald Smith, who put in 29 years with the city, was the first person to arrive at the courthouse.

After opening his folding chair and posting himself at the bottom of the courthouse steps, Smith said a federal marshal forced him to move.

“I’m so angry because these politicians are destroying our country,” Smith told WWJ Newsradio 950.

“It used to be all over the world, they used to say the American dream; they made it an American nightmare for us. You work all your life doing what you supposed to do, follow the rules, and they won’t even let me sit across the street,” he said. “But, see, I follow the law; came over here because I’m gonna stay out here. I know they don’t care nothing about me. I’m a number on a board.”

But Smith said he’ll stand up to fight for his pension.

State-appointed Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr took the stand Monday morning to continue his testimony.

He commented on the period after his appointment, saying, of Detroit’s financial situation, “I knew things were bad. It was somewhat shocking just how dire it was.” On Friday, Orr testified that filing for bankruptcy was not a condition of the job.

The trial began Wednesday and could end this week, but a decision on Detroit’s eligibility appears to be weeks away. The judge has set a Nov. 13 deadline for lawyers to file legal briefs on certain issues.

MORE:  Mich. Governor Prepares To Take Stand In Detroit Bankruptcy Trial

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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