The image shows the shop front of Peckham Hair & Cosmetics, with campaigners gathering outside.

Campaigners call for permanent closure of Peckham hair shop as protests continue

Campaigners are demanding that Southwark Council permanently close a hair shop on Rye Lane in Peckham after an altercation between the shop owner and a customer. 

A viral video of the incident at Peckham Hair & Cosmetics last Monday between owner Sohail Sindho, 45, and a 31-year-old black woman appears to show Sindho grabbing the woman by the neck. She then appears to hit him with a shopping basket.

In the video, the woman is seen trying to get away from the shop owner and can be heard saying: “Call the police, call the police, call the police. This boy, this man just strangled me. Get off me, get the f*** off me.”

Sindho claims the argument broke out after the woman was reportedly denied a refund under the shop’s policy and then allegedly attempted to steal some products.

“NO MORE”: Protest signs cover the shutters of the Peckham hair shop

Detective Chief Superintendent Seb Adjei-Addoh, local policing commander for Southwark, said: “We continue to examine various clips of footage that depict small sections of the wider incident and are working to establish what offences were committed and by whom.”

Since last Tuesday, protesters demanding better protection for black women have assembled daily on Rye Lane. There are plans for a larger protest on Saturday at 2pm.

Since the incident the shop front has been covered in signs reading: “stand up for black women”, “please do not buy from this shop” and “enough is enough”.

Community activist group Campaign for Truth & Justice is also demanding a community meeting with Southwark Council.

Lead campaigner Caul Grant, who has lived in Peckham for almost 30 years, said: “The shop remains shut and it has been shut since Tuesday of last week. We absolutely insist that it does not reopen.

“As far as we’re concerned, we are going to be having a meeting and we will invite the council to that meeting to talk about a proposal for this property.”

The council has said that it does not own the building.

“DO NOT BUY FROM THIS SHOP”: Signs continue to appear on the shop front

Grant added: “The community will continue to come out to make sure that the message is delivered to every single one of these retailers that there’s no law that gives you the right to treat any member of the public like that, especially women. It’s totally uncalled for.”

Campaign for Truth & Justice activist Cheryl Mcleod said: “The atmosphere at the protests has been one of anger and disdain for how we are being mistreated.”

The group says that the next step in light of the incident is to hear what the local community, as well as the woman and her family, want to happen next. 

Speaking about the plans for a community meeting, she said: “We have garnered more than 70 names and then we will be in contact with the council for them to arrange a venue we can use.

“Then we will send out a notice to all the people who have registered interest. It definitely won’t be long.”

Mcleod claims that the council are not doing enough to monitor business standards in the area.

“This has opened up a Pandora’s box,” she said.

“There needs to be a real, forensic look at what is happening in Peckham. The standard of businesses here is not being looked at.”

Chloe Tomlinson, councillor for Rye Lane Ward, said: “All shops in Rye Lane should treat women and Black customers with respect and dignity.

“I am committed to looking into how the council can ensure that, and am keen to hear from and meet with community members who have ideas of how the council can best respond.”

Mcleod stressed the importance of supporting Black-owned hair businesses in light of the incident.

She said: “There is a hair shop in Woolworth Road called TJ’s. In Bromley Road, there is Hair Glow which is a beautiful, family-run business. They are there, but it’s about making sure that people have this information.”

Southwark Council was contacted for comment on this story. It has not yet replied at the time of publication.

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