Angry protest outside two Willesden estate agents
PUBLISHED: 11:27 16 October 2013 | UPDATED: 11:27 16 October 2013
Around 50 demonstrators marched along Willesden High Road to vent anger and outrage against two estate agents who refuse black tenants.
Tuesday’s protest was triggered after a BBC investigation revealed National Estate Agents and A to Z Property Services were guilty of accepting landlords’ requests not to show and let properties to people of African-Caribbean descent.
The revelations have provoked a backlash of criticism from organisations across Brent.
Sujata Aurora, of protest organisers Brent Housing Action, called for estate agents to be regulated.
She said: “I think it’s important to be vocal about this.
“This is completely unacceptable.
“This was going on in the 1950s and to have it going on now in 2013 is quite shocking
“It shows what short distances we have travelled.
“Nothing has changed, this is a massive issue of concern
“They (estate agents) are not subject to regulation and that needs to change”
Speaking after the protest, Ms Aurora added: “It went really well, it was a great turn out, at 24 hours notice.
“There was an awful lot of anger about what has been going on and there was a lot of interest from passers by and some joined in.
“It was a really positive protest and showed people that this kind of behaviour is not acceptable.”
Protestor Martin Francis of Brent Green Party said: “I think it went well.
“It was good to have a united front amongst the political parties against racism.”
Sarah Cox, of campaign group Brent Fightback, said: “It’s a disgrace.
“It’s absolutely appalling, especially in a place like Willesden.
“If they (estate agents) don’t stop immediately, they should be closed down.”
Brent Council’s lead member for housing, Margaret McLennan, was at the protest.
She said: “I’m shocked and sickened that letting agents and landlords within Brent are discriminating between prospective tenants based on race.
“There is no place for this deplorable, racist behaviour in our borough.
“It’s not good enough for letting agents to claim that they were merely following landlords’ wishes.
“This behaviour is illegal, immoral and incredibly offensive to all but a minuscule minority of Brent residents.
The Labour Party has now referred the case to the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
National Estate Agents to A to Z Property Services were both unavailable for comment.
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