Cereal Killer Cafe protester insists 'gentrification affects middle-class people too'

Cafe owner Alan Keery was forced to barricade himself and his customers inside during the protests

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A Cereal Killer Cafe protester has said issues of gentrification and social cleansing affect both working-class and middle-class people. 

The cafe in Shoreditch, east London, was targeted by activists demonstrating against poorer people being priced out of the area. 

Dr Lisa Mckenzie, a research fellow at London School of Economics, who attended the protest on Saturday with the Class War party, told The Independent there were a range of activists present including working-class people, middle-class people, homeless people and students.

She said many of the people at the protest were “directly affected by gentrification and social cleansing”, and added that some were inadvertently impacted too.

Although the issues mainly affected working-class people, it did not mean they were “not affecting middle-class people as well," said the 47-year-old.

Dr Mckenzie, the daughter of a Nottingham striking miner and a factory worker, said she took part in many protests.

“Because I’m a working-class academic, it means I have a connection to inequality which is personal, but also I have a wider understanding of how structures of inequality work," she said.

She said rent caps were “desperately” needed in London in order for the capital to “save itself” and stop people being forced out of the city.

“This sort of sweeping carelessness of one income group removing another income group is happening all over the world,” added Dr Mckenzie.

In a statement posted on Facebook, Class War said the protest was “successful in its aim in raising the issues relating to social cleansing, social apartheid and class inequality in East London, London and the wider UK”. 

A bowl of cereal and milk at the café costs £3.20. It was opened last year by brothers Alan and Gary Keery. 

Alan Keery had to barricade himself and his customers inside during the protests.

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

He added: “There were kids in there at the time and everyone was pretty terrified.”

Mayor of London Boris Johnson condemned the protest in a Tweet.