A group of angry anti-gentrification protesters who call themselves the “F--k Parade” targeted an overpriced cereal café in London over the weekend.
The group was carrying torches, buckets of paint and pig head masks on spikes — all they needed were pitch forks to resemble a true medieval mob — and they wrote scum all over the Cereal Killer Café’s windows.
The café is located in Shoreditch, which is a historically low-income neighborhood in East London that is quickly gentrifying, Jezebel reports.
The establishment was specifically targeted because they sell cereal for between £2.50 and £5 a bowl, which is unaffordable for residents in that area and the F--k Parade took the initiative to let them know they don’t belong.
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The owners of Cereal Killer are, of course, upset but beyond that they also feel they’ve been victims of a “hate crime.”
We started a business to deliver an experience to cereal lovers, and have been thanked by local businesses for bringing tourists to the area— Cereal Killer Cafe (@CerealKillerUK) September 27, 2015
The mob won't win, wearing masks with pitch forks and torches, it's 2015. #hatecrime— Cereal Killer Cafe (@CerealKillerUK) September 27, 2015
Respectfully, what happened at the café during business hours was unfortunate, but not a hate crime. Property damage, vandalism? YES. Hate Crime? No.
One of the protesters, Will Harvey, wrote an essay for The Guardian, detailing the account and explaining the situation from the F--k Paraders perspective:
"At the weekend I was one of hundreds of demonstrators who took to the streets of Shoreditch in London, in the third incarnation of Class War’s f--k parade, a protest-cum-street-party against gentrification. 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.
People have speculated about who the protesters are, and where they live themselves, and I would describe those I saw as a diverse mix of working-class Londoners, from toddlers to pensioners, some residents of local social housing, while others traveled in from less expensive areas of the capital; many were victims of the gentrification and evictions I’ve mentioned.
Class War anarchists, activists, squatters and social housing tenants were joined along the way by local youths and the usual revellers of Shoreditch angry about rising prices or simply looking to join the party."
Both parties have valid arguments. Cereal Killers is a family owned and operated small business and meanwhile there are other big conglomerates causing worse damage to communities.
However, £5 for a bowl of cereal really doesn't seem like they are there to serve their neighbors, but rather to contribute to the gentrification within Shoreditch and that, according to the F--k Paraders, is a big no-no.