Cereal Killer cafe owner says he had to barricade door to protect children from anti-gentrification protesters

Alan Keery said he refused to "bow down" to the anti-gentrification protesters who attacked his cafe in Shoreditch, East London

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The Independent Online

The owner of an independent cafe attacked by anti-gentrification protesters in east London has insisted he is "not afraid" of them.

The Cereal Killer cafe in Shoreditch was attacked with paint and had the word "scum" daubed on it by demonstrators taking part in a "F*** parade" protest against renewal and rebuilding in the area accompanied by an influx of more affluent residents at the expense of poorer people.

Alan Keery, who opened the cafe with his brother Gary last year, was in the shop with several customers at the time of the attack. He said he had to barricade the doors to stop the demonstrators entering. 

He told Sky News: "It was just crazy. Two hundred people turned up with torches, throwing paint and stuff at the window.

'Class War' protesters in Shoreditch on Saturday night (@jamieosman

"We had customers inside at the time. We had to barricade the doors with furniture because there were people trying to batter down the doors.

"There were kids in there at the time and everyone was pretty terrified."

Mr Keery believes the cafe, which charges between £2.50 and £5 a bowl for cereals from around the world, was targeted because they are seen as the "poster boys" for the gentrification of the area.

Speaking to the Victoria Derbyshire show, he said he and his brother had grown up in a "very working class area of Belfast" so being targeted for gentrification was "unfair".

Do you know what: I'm not afraid of these people and using fear as a tactic is ridiculous. We are not going to bow down to them.

Alan Keery, co-owner of the Cereal Killer cafe

He said: "I'm not a politician, I'm a small business owner. I'm not particularly educated on the gentrification issue but it is not something that can be solved by attacking small businesses.We're just trying to make a living for ourselves."

Mr Keery has refused to "bow down" over worries about future attacks: "Do you know what: I'm not afraid of these people and using fear as a tactic is ridiculous. We are not going to bow down to them."  

One of the protesters, Will Harvey, has said that although he sympathised with the victims of vandalism, the outrage over the Cereal Killer cafe had meant that "the issues at the heart of the protest" were being ignored.

He told the Guardian: "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 home. 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.

"While some people did engage in minor acts of vandalism, most were content with chanting about the issues and dancing in streets where they can no longer afford to live or eat."