Traders in Dalston’s Ridley Road Market say council officials have advised them to shut up business due to the risk of riots in the area and that the loss in business is costing them dearly.
Rahi Rehman, who runs Kingsway Grocer says: “Around half an hour ago, about the council came and advised us to shut the shop because there was a risk of trouble, but they didn’t say how they knew.”
Mohammed Butt who runs a butcher’s on Ridley Road market added: “Our takings are already down by between £700 and £800 today because Ridley Road market has closed. We would normally be open for another four hours and would be really busy at this time, but it’s completely dead.”
According to Butt, regular customers, some of whom come from outside the area, have been phoning to ask if they market is open.
“We have to tell them it’s closed. I don’t think it’s right. The police should be here to protect the business.”
Fruit and veg stallholder John Evans, who’s pitch is on the corner of Ridley Road and Kingsland Road agrees. “I think people are panicking unnecessarily,” he says. “This is like giving in to terrorism. Why are these businesses closed? There is no need for it. I’m staying open as normal and have managed to sell quite a bit today.”
But at a fruit and veg stall further down Ridley Road, trade has been hit badly.
“Our takings are at least 50% down,” says Reli, the stallholder. “If this carries on, we are going to have to stand up to these people who are causing the trouble.”
Speaking to the Citizen at Ridley Road Market at 5pm today, shopper Jackie Sterrett said: “I think they are inviting trouble by closing all the shops early. I always come here to do my shopping on a Monday and closing the shopping centre has completely ruined my day.”