If you have not heard of the wonderful cereal cafe that was started last November in London, then you are not a true lover of the breakfast goodness that is cereal. The little boutique only serves a variety of cereal, including vintage, and opened to much fanfare. Unfortunately, Cereal Killer and its customers were the victims of a vicious attack over the weekend, as protesters tore through East London as part of an anti-gentrification movement.
A bowl of cereal at Cereal Killer can cost up to £4.40 ($6.68), and given its proximity to one of the poorest regions in London, the store has had its fair share of controversy. The brothers say that they have received death threats before, but could never have anticipated the attack that occurred on Saturday. The anti-capitalist attackers were reportedly over 200 strong and wore pigs heads as masks, and many were carrying torches and paint. The staff and customers, many of whom were children, had to barricade themselves inside the cafe as the anti-gentrification mob descended. The Daily Mail said Gary Keery, who founded the cafe with his twin brother, Alan, described the attack as terrifying.
“It was intense. It wasn’t expected. I couldn’t believe it was happening. I wasn’t there at the time, but I came down as soon as possible to help. They had pigs heads and torches. They wrote the word ‘scum’.”
Riot police had to be called in to protect the cafe that has come to be seen as a symbol for inequality in London. A group called “F**k Parade” claimed responsibility for the incident, in which a few other stores on the same block also suffered damage from the attack. The group claimed to have organized the demonstration as a protest against unaffordable housing in London. The brothers are calling it a senseless act of violence, though, attacking a small business owned by 2 working class men who pay their taxes.
— Cereal Killer Cafe (@CerealKillerUK) September 27, 2015
The Metropolitan Police Officers on scene were also attacked, and claims were made that one of the officers was injured, as well. The front of the store was marked with graffiti, and smoke bombs were thrown at the business. Fortunately, all the damage was external, and none of the customers or staff were injured. The store did suffer more damage than any other in the area, but BuzzFeed reports that Cereal Killer will not allow anyone to bully them.
On Sunday, the cafe opened for business as usual. A line of customers ready for the unique service of the breakfast cafe stood strong in support of Cereal Killer. In defense of their prices, Keery maintains that the business has to pay wages and taxes, and if persons were unwilling to pay the prices they set, then Cereal Killer would simply have to close.
The protesters only seemed to have attacked small businesses as several multi-national chains in the area remained untouched and it raises the question of whether the protest was anything more than an excuse to cause damage and bully small business owners.
[Photo Courtesy of Jamie Osman / Twitter]