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Economy

Breakfast of Gentrifiers

How a London café that specializes in cereal became the latest flashpoint in the city’s ongoing gentrification debate.
Boxes of cereal and a menu board are seen at the "Cereal Killer Cafe" in East London.
Boxes of cereal and a menu board are seen at the "Cereal Killer Cafe" in East London.REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

London’s gentrification debate has taken a bizarre turn in the past week. On Saturday night, demonstrators staging an impromptu anti-displacement protest in heavily gentrified East London cut loose and attacked a local landmark, daubing it with paint. Curiously, their chosen target wasn’t a new skyscraper or luxury apartment development. It was a café. One that specializes in selling cereal.

The choice of the Cereal Killer Café as target might seem odd, but the protest has clearly struck a chord. The U.K. media has been debating it furiously all week, while as a Londoner my Facebook and Twitter feeds have been so dominated by the story I’ve honestly been a little reluctant to go near my computer. So how did a small business become the center of such a passionate debate?