Anti-gentrification activists calling themselves the “Fuck Parade,” toting torches, buckets of paint, and pig head masks on spikes, attacked a cereal cafe in London on Saturday night. The owners of the Cereal Killer Cafe said their staff and customers had to “barricade themselves” inside while the protesters wrote “scum” on their windows.
The Fuck Paraders marched through the neighborhood of Shoreditch, a historically low-income but gentrifying part of East London. The Cereal Killer, which sells cereal for between £2.50 and £5.00 a bowl (that’s a lot), came in for special attention:
The Cereal Killer owners are very upset, saying they’ve been victims of a “hate crime.”
The Cereal Killer owners have always been rather touchy about their high prices. One, Gary Keery, stopped an interview with Channel 4 News in December 2014 after being asked whether people who lived in East London could afford to eat there:
In the interview broadcast last night Brown referred to the fact that the cafe had opened up in one of the poorest parts of London, before asking: “Do you think local people will be able to afford £3.20 cereal?”
Keery, who pointed out that the cereal was imported from America, replied: “If they’re poor, probably not then. Can we stop this interview? Because I don’t like the questions that you’re asking me.”
Plenty of people pointed out that a Subway down the same road was unscathed:
In an essay for The Guardian Monday, Will Harvey, one of the protesters who Fuck Paraded, said the paint on the Cereal Killer’s windows was overtaking a conversation that should be about poverty:
During the evening some paint and cornflakes were thrown at the Cereal Killer cafe on Brick Lane, which received a lot of attention, while the issues at the heart of the protest – inequality and social cleansing - were largely ignored.
While I sympathise with the workers who had to clean up on Sunday, and am deeply sorry that some children were intimidated by the protest, the petty vandalism that occurred pales in comparison to the brutality of the gentrification that is destroying the lives and demolishing the homes of some of London’s most vulnerable people.
Some 49% of the children in the borough live below the poverty line. Property developers and private landlords are making millions forcing these children and families out of their homes, often through violent evictions, and they are regularly moved into inadequate temporary accommodation and sometimes on to the streets. Many parents in the area suffer the indignity of relying on food banks to feed their children while the new Shoreditch residents can make a successful business selling children’s cereal for £5 a bowl.
Only one person was reportedly arrested during the demonstration, on suspicion of “criminal damage.” A police officer was injured after being struck by a bottle.
The Fuck Parade will make a reoccurrence in October, according to one flyer, protesting the controversial Jack the Ripper Museum in the East End.
Screengrab via YouTube/Bluelight TV