Anti-gentrification activists have daubed the word “scum” on an east London cafe in a “terrifying” attack.
The Ulster owners of the Cereal Killer Cafe - which sells a range of breakfast cereals - said it was a “terrifying” experience for staff when protesters wearing pig masks and carrying flaming torches attacked the shop in Brick Lane as disorder broke out on Saturday night.
Co-owner Alan Keery, 33, said: “They see us as one of the biggest symbols of gentrification in the area.”
The cafe boss, from Belfast, who runs the establishment with his twin brother Gary, said it was “absurd” that activists were targeting their shop, which they said was just a small business.
“It’s bullying at its best,” he said.
Children were in the cafe at the time, but staff and customers were unharmed when the “angry mob of 200” attacked, the cafe’s Twitter account said.
The owners posted photographs on Twitter - one showing the word “scum” written on their window and another captured from above showing a crowd.
The caption to one photograph said: “Unhappy with the state of the country? Why not attack a small business #smart.”
The owners said: “We started a business to deliver an experience to cereal lovers, and have been thanked by local businesses for bringing tourists to the area.
“The mob won’t win, wearing masks with pitchforks and torches, it’s 2015.”
One person has been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage, Scotland Yard said.
An officer suffered a minor injury to his face as a result of a thrown bottle.
Police said officers dealt with disorder arising from a pre-planned event in the Shoreditch area.
The Met said that from around 8pm, a criminal element within a group of several hundred people threw missiles and caused criminal damage to shops and other businesses in and around Brick Lane.
The group continued to move around the Shoreditch and Brick Lane area until around 12.30am.
The Cereal Killer Cafe is the UK’s first speciality cereal cafe selling more than 120 types of cereal from around the world.
The cafe’s website says: “To create the perfect bowl of cereal you can choose from 30 different varieties of milk and 20 different toppings. To give you the real sugar rush feeling you had when you were a kid come and visit us for breakfast, lunch or dinner in our nostalgic cafe displaying hundreds of pieces of memorabilia from the 80s and 90s for you to feast your eyes on.”