A Casino-Free declaration

Jan. 28

By John Davidson
For PlanPhilly

In one of its more theatrical demonstrations, Casino-Free Philadelphia staged a “Declaration of Independence From Casinos” Tuesday afternoon on Independence Mall, during which a young man in colonial garb read out a document denouncing casinos and the politicians who support them.

Jethro Heiko, a spokesman for the group, said Casino-Free organized the demonstration to announce a new campaign to oppose Foxwoods and SugarHouse casinos and to find elected officials in Philadelphia or Harrisburg who would stand with them.

“Politicians haven’t been asked a lot by the media or even by citizens for that matter,” Heiko said. “They’ve been allowed to say ‘well, I’m not anti casino, I’m not pro casino,’ and our feeling is that it’s good to have a clear position and stand with citizens who are working to oppose them.”

As part of the new campaign, which will continue until July 4, Casino-Free is working to recruit people in every legislative district and will host a series of town hall meetings beginning Feb. 18 in Center City. About 100 people were on hand for Tuesday’s demonstration, after which the crowd members signed a large copy of the declaration.

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