Conflict

Anti-hipster protest in London targets breakfast cereal cafe

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London's Cereal Killer Cafe was targeted as a symbol of gentrification

London's Cereal Killer Cafe has been targeted as a symbol of gentrification.

Credit:

Luke MacGregor/Reuters

A café that specializes in novelty breakfast cereals has been targeted in protests against the gentrification of London’s East End.

Paint was thrown at the windows of Brick Lane's Cereal Killer Café, and "SCUM" was written across the window. A nearby real estate agent was also attacked. Customers were locked inside to protect them from the demonstrators. 

Several hundred marchers took part in the protest, which was advertised as a "F**k Parade" against the gentrification of London’s East End, traditionally one of the poorest parts of the capital. 

Class War, the anarchist group that organized the event, described the parade as a battle against the creation of an “unrecognizable, bland, yuppie-infested wasteland with no room for normal and not so normal) people like us.” Their manifesto adds: "We don’t want pop-up gin bars or brioche buns — we want community.” Artwork for Sunday's event included the slogan Hipsters Beware.

Gary Keery, one of the owners of the café, said that they had been unfairly targeted. “There’s another Pret [sandwhich shop franchise] at the top of the street here and that wasn’t targeted. We’re an independent business, we’ve got two shops, we’ve only been open months,” he said.

The East End remains one of the most deprived areas in Britain, with some of the highest rates of child poverty, but has also seen rapid gentrification. An influx of predominantly white, middle class professionals has led to an increase in house prices and commercial rents, forcing many older businesses to close, and a lack of affordable housing for local people.

Adam Barr, one of the staff at Freedom News, an anarchist bookshop which has been in the East End for more than 60 years, said the protests reflect the marginalization of the poor. “There’s a rising anger that’s not concentrated in one group. It’s a rising anger across London and England against the streamrolling of working class culture”.

Today the Cereal Killer Café’s twitter feed declared: “Open as normal today guys, come down to see our new shopfront #makeover

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