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US Democratic presidential hopefuls urge Michigan governor to resign

US Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have called on Michigan’s Republican governor to step down over a water issue in the city of Flint.

Political rivals Clinton and Sanders criticized Rick Snyder, who they said should resign or be recalled from his post.

“The governor should resign or be recalled and we should support the efforts of citizens attempting to achieve that,” Clinton said. “But that is not enough. We have to focus on what must be done to help the people of Flint,” she added.

The comments come after more than 8,000 children in Flint were exposed to lead for more than a year before the city’s tap water contamination was uncovered by citizen activists.

Sanders for his part said he had been “shattered” by visiting the city and meeting citizens.

“It was beyond belief that children in Flint, Michigan, in the United States of America in the year 2016 are being poisoned. That is clearly not what this country should be about.”

“I believe the governor of this state should understand that his dereliction of duty was irresponsible. He should resign,” added Sanders.

The joint criticism came during the CNN Democratic Presidential Primary Debate at the Whiting Auditorium at the Cultural Center Campus in Flint on Sunday.

People participate in a national mile-long march to highlight the push for clean water in Flint February 19, 2016 in Flint, Michigan. (AFP)

Flint’s water issue has so far sparked many protests in Michigan, with people demanding that authorities resign.

Residents in the US city have for long been suffering from polluted water. Despite distribution of bottled water by National Guard forces, Flint citizens are still unable to live a normal life due to lead-contamination there.

Back in January, President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency in Flint, but the issue remains unresolved.

Flint switched from Detroit’s water system to Flint River in 2014 to save money; however, state officials failed to order local authorities to treat the water with anti-corrosive chemicals and that caused lead to leach from aging pipes into some homes.

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