Class War called off Sunday’s planned protest outside the Jack The Ripper Museum in Whitechapel fearing “large-scale arrests”.
Only a handful of people turned up on October 4, and were met with police presence. Class War were looking to hijack a demonstration by women’s groups and residents at the museum which, they said, glorified violence against women.
A statement on Class War’s Facebook site on Saturday, October 3, read: “We believe the police are intending to make large scale arrests tomorrow – egged on by a press campaign and the mass presence of journalists from round the world.
“We would be highly irresponsible to our comrades if we put them at risk of arrest. We are therefore cancelling tomorrow’s demo.”
After Class War attacked the Cereal Killer Cafe last weekend as a symbol of gentrification, the owners issued a statement of defiance. This weekend, it was museum founder Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe who said he would not be defeated.
He said: “We are absolutely staying open. I’ve been a victim of bullying at school and the one thing I learned is that you should never give in to the bullies. There’s no way I’m going to give in to them.”
Mr Palmer-Edgecumbe likened the protesters to Adolf Hitler’s brownshirts and said he and his family had received death threats.
• Also online: First look inside Jack The Ripper Museum
Activist Martin Wright, 62, said the museum was a “freak show” and a symptom of the disease – it’s not the disease of Manhattanisation. We’re competing with millionaires for everything – space, accommodation. We haven’t got a chance.”
He said that “Jack the Ripper and the Kray twins are nothing more than a lurid footnote” in the history of the East End.”
The museum organisers had tried to rally the community in a show of defiance against Class War, citing the Cereal Killer Cafe incident.
Resident Jemima Broadbridge, part of the original protest, said: “To try to get the Cereal Killer people to come and defend a museum about a serial killer, which is the most weird twist, you can’t make it up.”
She added: “We are not targeting small businesses in any way shape or form, small businesses are the fabric of the East End. But Cable Street has a proud social history – we should not glorify sexual violence against women.”