Index on Censorship condemns the attack on London’s Bookmarks Bookshop in which protesters destroyed displays, wrecked books and chanted far-right slogans.
The group also threatened staff at Bookmarks, Britain’s largest socialist books outlet in Saturday’s incident. Police were called but no arrests were made.
There was a similar incident at the Bloomsbury-based bookshop Gay’s the Word in April 2018. That shop’s display window was smashed in, leaving the establishment with a £500 bill.
“It is deeply shocking that such an horrific attack could take place on a bookshop in 21st century Britain,” said Anna Millward, coordinator of the Banned Books Week UK coalition at freedom of expression campaign group Index on Censorship. “We need bookshops now more than ever. Books offer new perspectives, smash taboos and spark debate. Books are one of the most powerful tools we have in holding power to account, challenging the status quo and giving voice to the silent and silenced. An attack on a bookshop is a direct attack on our fundamental human right to freedom of expression.”
On Saturday 11th August, Bookmarks will host a solidarity event in store with authors. Bookmarks is also calling on supporters to donate funds to help bolster security in the shop and to replace lost stock. Donations can be transferred to: Sort Code: 30 93 29 A/c: 00089719.
Banned Books Week UK (23-29 September 2018) is a week-long celebration of the freedom to read organised by a coalition of UK-based literary and freedom of expression organisations. Visit the website: www.bannedbooksweek.co.uk for events, resource packs and ways to get involved. Tweets to @BannedWeekUK #BannedBooksWeek
This article was updated on 13 September 2018. An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the group was warning masks. They were not, as the video shows.