2015年4月26日星期日

'No evictions and yuppies': Vandals trash upmarket estate agents Foxtons in protest against gentrification and rising house prices they claim are forcing locals out of deprived South London district of Brixton

  • Vandal spray painted 'no evictions' and 'yuppies' across the store front
  • At least one person has been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage
  • Demo organised by Reclaim Brixton was attended by thousands of people
  • 'We can't be held accountable for one lone idiot,' organiser told MailOnline

Protesters have demolished the front window of upmarket estate agents Foxtons during a dramatic protest against the gentrification of South London.

The store front of its Brixton branch in South London was covered with shattered glass while 'no evictions' and 'yuppies' was spray painted in black across their housing advertisements.

A police spokesman has confirmed that one man has been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage. 

Thousands of people turned up for the event organised by the Reclaim Brixton group who were demonstrating against local residents and businesses being priced out of the trendy area.

One of the event's organisers denounced the violent actions of 'one idiot' but told MailOnline there could be a reason Foxtons - which has a reputation for selling expensive homes - has been 'continuously targeted'. 

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Vandal: One vandal smashed the front window of Foxtons Brixton branch (pictured) during a 'wholly peaceful' protest against rising house prices in London

Vandal: One vandal smashed the front window of Foxtons Brixton branch (pictured) during a 'wholly peaceful' protest against rising house prices in London

Violent: The lone protester demolished the front window of upmarket estate agents Foxtons, who have a reputation for selling expensive houses 

Violent: The lone protester demolished the front window of upmarket estate agents Foxtons, who have a reputation for selling expensive houses 

Defaced: The vandal then spray painted 'no evictions' and 'yuppies' on the estate agent's housing advertisements

Defaced: The vandal then spray painted 'no evictions' and 'yuppies' on the estate agent's housing advertisements

Reputation: A spokesperson for Reclaim Brixton - who organised the event - denounced the man's violent actions but suggested there could be a reason Foxtons is 'continuously targeted'

Reputation: A spokesperson for Reclaim Brixton - who organised the event - denounced the man's violent actions but suggested there could be a reason Foxtons is 'continuously targeted'

Motive: Cyndi Anaso said she is not happy about the vandalism but told MailOnline 'it suggests there's a reason they are being targeted'

Motive: Cyndi Anaso said she is not happy about the vandalism but told MailOnline 'it suggests there's a reason they are being targeted'

Response: Police at the scene in Brixton (pictured) had to us CS spray to disperse a group of violent protesters

Response: Police at the scene in Brixton (pictured) had to us CS spray to disperse a group of violent protesters

Cyndi Anaso from Reclaim Brixton told MailOnline said she was 'saddened' that someone behaved 'deviantly' during a wholly peaceful demonstration.

But she claims the upmarket estate agents have been targeted before, adding: 'Foxtons has a very poor reputation when it comes to expensive properties and unfortunately.'

'There's a message in it which I'm not happy about but it still suggests there's a reason they are being targeted.

'There's never an endorsement of the attack but nothing else on the day can be considered even slightly violent.'

'I don't even think it's right to apologise for these individuals because every protest that you watch, there will be an obligatory that one idiot will smash a shop window.'

Foxtons is widely considered as a sign of gentrification and its presence is an indicates that an area either is or has the potential to become very affluent.

The Reclaim Brixton event was planned to demonstrate against the rising property prices in London which the group believes is 'displacing the city's communities'.

A statement on the Facebook page for the event said: 'The fight against gentrification starts here! Brixton is widely known for its vibrancy, which is another word for social and cultural diversity. 

Thousands protest against rising house prices in Brixton

Keeping watch: There is still a 'police presence' outside the vandalised store in Brixton, South London following the incident

Keeping watch: There is still a 'police presence' outside the vandalised store in Brixton, South London following the incident

Defence: Sympathisers and Brixton locals used Twitter to condemn the attention being given to the 'isolated' act of vandalism

Defence: Sympathisers and Brixton locals used Twitter to condemn the attention being given to the 'isolated' act of vandalism

Break-in: The Metropolitan Police (pictured) also said the group forced their way into Brixton Town Hall, but were removed shortly after and no arrests were made

Break-in: The Metropolitan Police (pictured) also said the group forced their way into Brixton Town Hall, but were removed shortly after and no arrests were made

'But Brixton's vibrancy now has a question mark on it. Will Brixton turn into a living museum or will it live?'

But alongside images of people protesting peacefully on the streets, social media has been flooded with images of hordes pushing past police and the Foxtons window being destroyed. 

A police spokesman added: 'A group of protesters then made their way to Brixton Road where the window of a commercial premises was smashed and graffiti sprayed on the building.'

Police used CS spray on 'a small group of protesters' who went into Brixton Police Station at around 4.10pm before being removed shortly afterwards. 

The Metropolitan Police also said the group forced their way into Brixton Town Hall at around 3.15pm, saying: 'Officers entered the building and the protesters were removed.'

Grace Lally from Lambeth Housing Activists said the demonstration had attracted thousands of people.

Smashed: A Reclaim Brixton spokesperson said: 'Every protest that you watch, there will be an obligatory that one idiot will smash a shop window'

Smashed: A Reclaim Brixton spokesperson said: 'Every protest that you watch, there will be an obligatory that one idiot will smash a shop window'

She added: 'The protest has been lively and strong and loud and people have hung banners off the town hall, blocked the streets and marched through Brixton a number of times and stopped traffic.'

Ms Lally insisted the protest was 'really lively' but there had been 'no violence or trouble or anything like that'.

Those sympathetic to Reclaim Brixton's protest and locals of the area have taken to Twitter to denounce isolated incidents of violence.

Regarding the smashed window, Vanessa Furey from London said: 'Whilst sympathetic to the sentiment, idiots who have done this will have taken away what Reclaim Brixton was about.'

And Louise Ridley wrote: 'I live in Brixton. I want people to know about extortionate rents and evictions. But I don't want windows smashed, anywhere.'



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