Hundreds of anti-gentrification protestors organized by the anarchist group Class War swarmed east London's Cereal Killer Café on Saturday evening, according to The Guardian. Riot police were called to the scene as activists — some carrying pigs' heads and torches — threw paint and cereal at the shop, scrawled the word "scum" on the window, and burned an effigy of a police officer.
The UK's first cereal-only café opened last winter in the Shoreditch neighborhood of London, and, to some, has evolved into a symbol of hipster gentrification. The shop appears to have been targeted for selling bowls of cereal at £5 (approximate $7.59 USD).
Cereal cafe. £5 for cereal when people are starving. Fuck gentrification. pic.twitter.com/3mVmHFnOAT— Fuck Parade (@FuckParadeLDN) September 26, 2015
Co-founder Gary Keery tells The Guardian that customers barricaded the door when the protests began and hid in the building's basement. He claims that several participants broke into the restaurant and threw a smoke bomb. At least one police officer was injured. In response to the attack, Keery says: "If they really believe in the protest, why are they covering their face while they're doing it? Why are they wearing pig masks? . . . It's not just the fact that someone threw paint on the windows, there's more of a deep-rooted issue that needs to be looked at. You need to look at why they're attacking us." The protest was Class War's third "Fuck Parade" event, coordinated through Facebook. On the event page, organizers write:
Our communities are being ripped apart - by Russian oligarchs, Saudi Sheiks, Israeli scumbag property developers, Texan oil-money twats and our own home-grown Eton toffs. Local authorities are coining it in, in a short sighted race for cash by "regenerating" social housing.
We don't want luxury flats that no one can afford, we want genuinely affordable housing. We don't want pop-up gin bars or brioche buns - we want community.
Soon this City will be an unrecognisable, bland, yuppie infested wasteland with no room for normal (and not so normal) people like us.
Organizers live tweeted the event, posting photos of the damage.
In an interview with the Evening Standard, Cereal Killer Café's co-owner (and Gary's twin brother) Alan Keery condemned the attacks saying that protestors "terrified" customers. "Me and my brother started a business out of absolutely nothing and we're trying to grow it," he says. "We're being targeted as the poster boys of gentrification and that's not our fault . . . London as a city is growing and Shoreditch is no different. It's just a growing city — people are going to open businesses and try things and try to better themselves."
The Cereal Killer Cafe — which is releasing a cookbook next month — is simply the latest in a stream of anti-gentrification protests aimed at restaurants. In Los Angeles, masked protestors posted fake eviction notices on several Highland Park eateries last year with messages like "Evicting Displacement" and "Check Your Privilege." Meanwhile, in San Francisco's Mission District anti-gentrification organizers called for a boycott of Yaron Milgrom's mini restaurant empire after allegations surfaced of alleged discrimination.