Reclaim Brixton: windows of Foxtons smashed as thousands attend mostly peaceful protest



Violence erupted on the streets of Brixton today in the wake of an initially peaceful protest against gentrification in the area.

The window of Foxtons estate agents in Brixton Road was smashed, Lambeth Town hall was stormed and CS spray gas was used to deal with protesters at the police station.

The organisers of the Reclaim Brixton rally had insisted they did not want trouble and for most of the afternoon the crowd of more than 1,000 people who gathered in a sunny Windrush Square, was content to wave placards and play music.

rsz__mg_5567The rally had been organised to show the anger in the community at the rapid changes in the area, with locals being priced out of the housing market and smaller, individual businesses being driven out by high rents and big business.

However, at around 3.15 pm, some protesters managed to get inside Lambeth Town Hall. No damage was done and they were quickly removed by police officers. No arrests were made.

Around the same time, other protestors smashed one of the windows of Foxton’s estate agents and the words “Yuppies out” were written in spray paint across the other window. Police officers arrested one person on suspicion of criminal damage. Foxtons in Brixton has become a symbol of the gentrification of the area and this was not the first time it has been targeted.

It was also revealed that CS spray was used on “a small group of protesters” who went into Brixton Police Station at around 4.10pm. Police said the protesters were removed by local officers and “CS spray was deployed”. Again no was arrested though police said they were continuing to make their presence in Brixton tonight.

rsz__mg_5627The afternoon had begun peacefully, however, with housing forming a key focus of the protest: campaigners from Cressingham Gardens and Loughborough Park Estate waved banners asking for “social housing, not social cleansing”.

The London Black Revs, a socialist activist group, had also organised a march through Brixton and Brixton Community United, the campaign to save the businesses under the railway arches, organised a human chain around their properties. They then marched to Windrush Square, leaving their shops closed – “a sign of what’s to come” said Lorne Mash, from Mash & Sons fishmongers.

Valerie Lindo, who grew up in Brixton, said she was at the protest to show the council and government that they are “selling out” the area’s poor people.

“We need more affordable housing, the extreme house prices are moving people out of Brixton. It is social cleansing and breaking up communities. Brixton is losing its originality, we don’t want it to turn into Wimbledon or Richmond.”

rsz__mg_5627Employees from Brixton Cycles, a worker owned bike shop that has been in Brixton for over 30 years, were also at the demonstration. Their current premises are being demolished and the rising house prices mean they will likely be forced to leave the area.

Sarah, who works there, said “its scary what’s happening here. We came here to support everyone, there are so many who are facing similar problems to us.”

Georgie, who also is an empolyee at Brixton Cycles, added: “Gentrification seems unstoppable but we won’t stop fighting.”

In the wake of the violence that erupted today, many campaigners fear that the vandalism that occurred at the town hall and Foxtons would overshadow the positive aspects of the rally.

One social media user, Miss South, tweeted that she was “furious” that Foxtons had had its window smashed in  -“not because I like Foxtons at all but it allows Reclaim Brixton to be devalued.”



  1. It’s totally pathetic. Why an earth would you not want Brixton to be improved and re-developed!? I have been to the shops in the arches and the items/food they sell is shambolic and dirty. Improving the local area will mean safer, cleaner and better facilities and increased house prices (why do people in Brixton not want the value of their properties to go up…!?).

  2. Nobody seems to understand that you can’t just go and relegislate if that legislaton is in opposition with the European Court of Human Rights. The tennants of Rushcroft road were UNLAWFULLY removed from a 20 year tennancy. They are not the only ones. All over Brixton its the same story. Those with least means to defend their human rights are targeted by property development. Homelessness up 900%. Its sick, & if it doesnt make you very angry there’s something wrong with you. I don’t condone the smashing of anything, but you don’t need a degree in sociology to understand why FOXTONS were targeted.
    A case against the present regime needs to be taken to Brussels before this type of civil disobedience turns into something far worse. It should be far clearer to Theresa May & anyone else who doesn’t think we deserve to have human rights, that you cant just go and make a portion of the populace homeless to line your own pockets! IT IS AGAINST THE LAW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. I have stayed around Brixton for the last 30 years,and i must admit i am appalled by the changes.
    Gone are the days when i could walk from the tube to the bus stop and be offered a variety of hard drugs from crack to heroin and make sure the kids and women folk remain indoors after 7pm incase they got mugged and raped.
    Oh the market what a disgrace people actually go there and enjoy a meal and a glass of chardonnay,how i miss all those goats heads in buckets.
    Firsty all these refugees from chelsea coming here and gentrifying the neighborhood i would round them up and send them home on the next bus.
    What really gets me is these private landlords allowing tenants to sign leases 20 years ago only to find that when they expire that they want to refurbish and ask for a current market value.
    Im so mad i am going to smash up a chicken shop

  4. Brixton can’t gentrify fast enough for me. I want nice shops, bars and restaurants where I can spend my hard earned cash locally. I want clean and safe streets for the whole community: rich or poor, owners or renters. Time to call time on these Brixton bullies who have such a revolting sense of self-entitlement that they think Brixton can never evolve. If you don’t like it then move.

  5. I know that the Brixton Blog may feel it has to side with “the Establishment” (given how much funding you take from them) , but really, LEADING your story with a shriek of “VIOLENCE!” when even your headline reads differently, isn’t only poor form, it’s poor journalism too – the worst sort of tabloidism.
    Yes, we know violence is “sexy”, but that doesn’t mean that a news outlet that touts itself as being part of Brixton, should sell a story on a false premise. At least have some self-respect.

  6. A broken window isn’t violence. Kicking people out of homes they’ve lived in for years and moving them out of the city for unscrupulous developers and corrupt / inept politicians and officials to make a profit is heinous.

    • True. But the good name of Reclaim Brixton – and to the idea of peaceful protest in general has been violated.

    • A broken window isn’t violence? You won’t mind if someone breaks your windows then, will you?

      • Funny isnt it?! Bulldozers violently smash down peoples homes and old businesses, yet the cries of ‘violence’ go up when a window gets smashed at a business which is instrumental in the destruction of the communities that have been in Brixton for years.

        Priorities eh?!

        (And clearly no one wants to see a return to the problems of drugs and crime that used to blight the place either).

        Appalling reporting by Brixton Blog who you’d think might know better (given the history of Brixton and the state and the liberal media’s attitude to it) with throwing around words like ‘violence’ and focusing on only a small part of what happened on the day.

        The day was overwhelmingly positive, uniting all manner of groups (people losing their homes to the ‘violence’ of gentrification), long-time independent businesses threatened with extinction to make way for more bland chains, groups representing every minority that will see their future in Brixton looking very bleak.

  7. The very elements that make Brixton an exciting place to live are being sold out to clone chain blandness. A whole high street block is now made up of phone shops. this has happened all over London, small retailers with sometimes generations of loyal customers are driven out, to be replaced by chains. Other European cities seem to manage to keep a mix, where the independent specialists can thrive and prove unique services and choice, they seem to understand that markets, specialists, and the eccentric are the heart and spirit of cities? Wake up and see what we have before it is too late!

  8. Whilst the protesters have the right to protest, it’s not sure what they seek. Nobody wants to discuss, never mind seek solutions to: infinite economic growth on a finite planet (N Bennett, Green party), sustainable population, sustainable societies, etc.. Protesters want increased social (i.e. taxpayer funded) housing but little discussion of how to finance these aspirations.

    • Protestors are not solely seeking more social housing. Many want to remain in the homes they already own like the residents of Cressingham Gardens. If they pay their rent why do they need to be evicted?

      • My rudimentary understanding is that paying rent/mortgage for shelter is not a guarantee for that shelter. Is it true that compulsory purchase orders can be obtained if development projects have been awarded after the normal planning process?

        It should be noted that local councils seem complicit in “development” because of the perceived extra potential revenues that they hope to receive.

        That’s why in my opinion, more fundamental discussion is required: how to finance whatever is wanted. If residents want to remain in area X, where is the _sustainable_ money coming from to provide services to those residents?

  9. The breaking of the window was poor form but it was not the responsibility of the entire Reclaim Brixton demonstrators who were predominantly peaceful protestors (including children who were there with parents) There were lots of people protesting using music, satirical art performances and giving speeches. But given that these kind of activities don’t fit in with the violent Brixton stereotype they go unreported.

    • No, it wasn’t. It was one action by an individual or small extreme group seeking publicity, and the media fell for it. “Tear gas used in Brixton protests” is what they wanted to publish- because it sells.

    • According to the article the only ‘violence’ which erupted on the streets of Brixton came from the police. If you have any evidence of protesters using violence why not share it?

  10. I find the comment “you really could not even so much as buy a decent cup of coffee here” laughable, especially as San Marino has been around for more than 4 years and their coffee is not bad at all. I agree that gentrification is not unique to Brixton. It was upmarket in the 1900s when Bon Marche was Selfridges, went through a period of deprivation, and is now going through a phase of gentrification. Violence (as dreadful as it is) is not unique to Brixton either. It happens elsewhere in England (even in Richmond and Wimbledon, particularly near the naff Wetherspoons pub near Wimbledon Broadway on weekends). If you are ashamed to be living in an area where ‘violence erupts and damage ensues’, perhaps it might be worth upping sticks and living on an uninhabited island with the safety of your solitude.

  11. Brixton is a million miles from being a Richmond or even its downmarket cousin, Wimbledon. No amount of change will ever even bring it close. Gentrification is not unique to Brixton, house price rises are happening everywhere – particularly in London. I am sorry to say that no amount of protest can stop that, no more than it can stop general inflation of everything, or population rise. It is about time people woke up to this – instead of feigning that Brixton is some sort of victim here, it is not, nor is it unique. It is just, perhaps, a more pronounced perceived change, or pace of change due to the fact that the area had been neglected for so long ( condition of housing), had such a high crime rate that put off people from coming here and because up until 4 years ago, you really could not even so much as buy a decent cup of coffee here – such was the baroness and impoverishness of the area. So it is looking a tiny bit more polished now, because of ridiculous prices elsewhere people have decided to move in to the area for work in Central London – well, this is happening the world over, every city everywhere has the same issue. Unless we control the population explosion, or prevent overseas investors from being able to buy UK homes for investment, the rise in house prices will not stop, and people will not stop moving into previously run down areas – causing a demographic evolution in the process. I am ashamed to be living in a place where violence erupts and the damage ensues, to the town hall and Foxton’s, though I suspect it was not caused by the legitimate organisers of the event, but by some mob that falsely take it on themselves to represent the sentiment of the true victims of demographic change, and rent and business rate hikes. .

  12. Sure violence won’t help the arches traders’ cause and no-one wants to see it but people do understand about Foxton’s and I can’t imagine a broken pane there will do much harm.

    • Probably right in that it won’t ‘do much harm’. Lucky for the person who smashed it in that it was laminated glass or else it certainly would have done him or her (as surprise, surprise they wore a balaclava) more than harm. It could have even killed them if the shards were big enough and the pressure of the glass exploding sent them flying everywhere. By law it has to be laminated in case anybody falls into it, like a car windscreen. However I suspect that this was not at the forefront of this persons thoughts when they decide on this stunt.

    • Sure, it’s just a window Tim. But the people who do this kind of thing have caused real harm to the name of the Reclaim Brixton campaign – and to the idea of peaceful protests in general. If people start smashing shop windows just because they’re more expensive, why not have a go at Boots? They’re more expensive than Superdrug. Where does it end? The £1 Shop because they’re more expensive than the 99p Shop?! During the Thatcher ‘party’ they smashed up the Oxfam charity shop. The people who do these things should be ashamed today, and know that they’re not welcome in Brixton.

      • No one’s suggesting that the window was put through because of price. But I would be interested to know why you feel in a position to determine who is, and who isn’t, welcome in Brixton.

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