Vandals seeking to ‘reclaim Brixton’ have used a road sign to smash the windows of a Foxtons branch on the high street of the south London suburb, and have sprayed ‘Yuppies’ and ‘No Evictions’ on the walls of the office.
Riot police armed with CS spray canisters then guarded the office after the protest, which occured on Saturday afternoon, keeping watch until repair teams boarded up the ceiling-to-floor window cavities.
Foxtons has not made an official statement but it is believed the branch will reopen today with an enhanced security presence.
A spokeswoman for Reclaim Brixton, the campaign group which organised the 1,000-strong protest, says she is disappointed that violence occurred but adds: “Foxtons has a very poor reputation when it comes to expensive properties. 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.”
Not everyone was as critical as the organisers themselves, however - yesterday afternoon eMoov founder Russell Quirk raised a few eyebrows on Twitter when he tweeted: “A new window at Foxtons: £2,000. The symbolism of a greedy industry detested by the public? Priceless.”
Foxtons office on Brixton Road is midway between the police station - which protesters entered, and where CS gas was used on them - and Lambeth Town Hall, which was also the subject of a crowd invasion during the protest.
Foxtons is a magnet for protests against estate agents, high rents and gentrification, with protests often accompanying new branch openings. But the Brixton office has seen a particularly long-lasting spate of attacks.
A year ago a radical group in south London attacked Foxtons’ boards outside vendors’ homes. ‘We Love Social Housing’ messages were pasted over the agents’ details on boards outside homes in Clapham and Brixton.
The group which claimed responsibility on that occasion was Lambeth Housing Activists which described its actions as “improving” the boards.