Police are appealing for witnesses after an anti-gentrification protest in east London turned violent.
Business and shops were targeted and a police officer was hurt by a flying bottle when a group broke away from a Class War protest and threw painted and smashed windows in Brick Lane on Saturday.
The Cereal Killer Cafe, which has become a symbol of Shoreditch’s hipster transformation, was daubed with the word “Scum” as families and staff cowered inside. The group loitered in the hour for several hours before dispersing in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Supt Pete Turner, in charge of Operations at Tower Hamlets Borough, said: “Whilst we respect and will facilitate the right to peaceful protest we will never condone violence. My officers are currently reviewing the CCTV from both the cafe and the local authority.
“Any individual identified as being involved in the violence will be actively sought, arrested and brought to justice.”
Cafe owner Alan Keery said it was “incredibly unfair to target a small business for a larger problem”.
“They’re talking about gentrification but they’ve tagged us as the poster boys for it, and we’re not the real problem.”
Mayor of London Boris Johnson was “deeply concerned” about the “unacceptable” violent elements of the protest, according to his office.
He used his column in the Telegraph to extol the virtues of entrepreneurship shown by the founders of the cafe, which sells bowls of specialist cereal for around £4.50.
Mr Johnson wrote: “We should be hailing anyone who starts a business in this country; we should acclaim them for overcoming all the obstacles that government puts in their path – the rates, the employment law, the health and safety. It is a great thing to want to open a place of work in one of the poorest boroughs in Britain.”
Meanwhile, Class War has turned its attentions to the controversial Jack The Ripper Museum in Whitechapel, urging people to gather to protest on Sunday, October 4, at over the “glorification of sexual violence” in a tweet that, without apparent irony, displays a naked picture of one of the Ripper’s victims.
The aim, says the group, is to “shut it down” and “end the war on women”. In a YouTube video, protester “Martin” said: “This is part of real street politics, not the clowns of that false alternative otherwise known as the Left as they bury themselves deep into the reactionary monarchist Labour party, spreading false hopes and worshipping Jeremy Corbyn.
"No wonder we take to the street. What else can we do? Vote Labour? The streets and our public spaces are our only forum.”