Debris of the battle left in cemetery

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The Independent Online
THE WORKERS from Greenwich council who began clearing anti-police stickers and the other debris of the Battle of Plumstead Cemetery early yesterday morning were in no doubt that some of the demonstrators had come ready for violence.

They removed six lorry loads of rubble, most of it the remains of 50 yards of the 12ft high cemetery wall, knocked down and its bricks used as missiles.

Places in the pavement where paving stones had been removed were carefully filled with gravel. Inside the cemetery one worker had found a sock filled with batteries and several wooden stakes with nails in the end.

Other relics included the blood-soaked white jacket, printed with the words 'Chief Steward', belonging to Julie Waterson of the Anti-Nazi League. She showed seven stitches in the top of her head, and said that they had been caused by a police baton just as she was appealing for calm over her megaphone. She had been trying to bring in a column of stewards.

Beside the shabby two-storey house that is the headquarters of the British National Party, residents and shop owners were taking down the chipboard hoarding put over their windows.

The mood was of anger with everyone: the BNP, the Government, the anti-Nazi protesters and the police.

Patrick Hall, polishing the second-hand cars outside his garage, said that it was the third time this year he had lost a day's business because of demonstrations.

'They want to be allowed the freedom of speech, but we want to be allowed the freedom to trade. Why spend pounds 1m policing this, when all they need do is buy the house off the BNP and tell them to go somewhere else?' he said.

'It's disgraceful,' Joe Brown, 80, said. 'My Mum and Dad are buried in that cemetery and they go pulling the walls down. They should be ashamed of themselves.'

At a shop just a block away the Asian owner, who did not want to be named, said he believed the demonstrations should be allowed, so long as they were peaceful. 'The BNP are harming the whole of Welling and they should not be there.'

Near the cemetery, Anti-Nazi League members argued angrily with the police officer in charge of the operation, Commander Hugh Blenkin, over who had attacked whom, where.

Local residents appeared to back up ETHER write errorthe police, saying the charges were in retaliation to missile throwing from the crowd, though some criticised the police for not allowing marchers an escape route once the demonstration had come to a halt.