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Protesters demand 'rice and peas not champagne and cheese'

RECLAIM BRIXTON: Protestors arrived armed with handmade placards

POCKETS OF violence from disgruntled residents threatened to derail a peaceful protest expressing the concerns of the community in Brixton, south London.

The ‘Reclaim Brixton’ protest against gentrification on Saturday (April 25) began at noon as more than 1,000 people took to the streets before congregating in historic Windrush Square.

Protestors arrived armed with placards confirming that "community is at the heart of resistance", while others wore messages of defiance on their person.

"Rice and peas not champagne and cheese," was emblazoned across the t-shirt of one protestor keen for the area to retain its distinct Caribbean cultural identity.

While the overwhelming spirit of the day was one of solidarity and community activism, organisers fear their efforts will be overshadowed by the actions of a small minority.

One of the targets of vandalism was estate agent Foxtons, which sources told The Voice had been a bone of contention since its arrival in High Street, Brixton.

The shop had one of its windows smashed and the words 'Yuppies out' scrawled in spray paint across another. Police officers arrested one person on suspicion of criminal damage.

The site remained under the protection of police officers who formed a human barrier for the remainder of the weekend. Protesters also stormed both the police station and town hall where officers confronted them.

Police revealed that they had also used CS spray on "a small group of protesters" who had entered Brixton police station at around 4.10pm.

Video footage shows London Black Revolutionaries member, Joshua Virasami, 24, carried by a group to safety before being doused with milk after allegedly being sprayed in the eyes.

In a statement on its Facebook page, the socialist-activist group said: "Today was just the start of a united fight against social, ethnic cleansing and gentrification. We now need all communities, groups and individuals to come together in order to resist. We have been, and will continue to be organising locally in Brixton for the months to come. Get engaged and involved. The fight for our homes is on.”

The area remained under close monitoring for the rest of the weekend.

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