Merlene joined Citizens UK, Spectrum Radio and other Chinese community groups in their organised protest and rally on Gerrard Street, Sunday 7 November. Right behind their stand, were the premises that only 2 weeks ago had been given planning approval by Westminster Council to become yet another gambling outlet.
Churches, charities, residents and shopkeepers in Chinatown have said they will not give up the fight to save the area already blighted by gambling addiction and debt. The new licence would be the 63rd granted in the borough and was approved by the pro-developer Tory Council despite a petition submitted by 76 businesses in Soho objecting to this change of use.
The problem of 'casino clusters' is not just confined to London's Chinatown. Across Britain, bookies are becoming an increasingly familiar sight on provincial high streets. This point was made by David Lammy MP who came to support the Chinatown protests (see pic).
"I was pleased that the usually silent community, with a bit of help from UK Citizens, have been able to come forward and make their voices heard. This is I believe is only the beginning . We need more community champions to speak up for the vulnerable and the exploited within our Society. I hope to provide that voice on the London Assembly."