Dark, seething storm clouds gathered over South London as the Battle of Lewisham drew near. The National Front had organised a march through Lewisham High Street to protest against immigration. According to the NF, 'darkies’ took all the jobs, shagged all the women - and somehow still found time to raise local street crime statistics. The National Front was the political choice of old bigots, racist thugs and, it has to be said, many a London police officer.
In the weeks leading up to the march, police violently raided several homes in the area and arrested 21 melanin-rich young men on suspicion of various misdemeanours. The raid and ensuing roughhouse arrests served to create a foul, agitated atmosphere in the borough. The NF cranked up the tension even more by handing out racially offensive leaflets. Stickers went up on lampposts and road signs demanding "Wogs Out" and "We Want Our Country Back". The All Lewisham Campaign Against Racism and Fascism organised a counter demonstration. A crowd of thousands gathered in the town centre to oppose the marching fascists.
Around midday, a thousand vociferous NF supporters set off from Clifton Rise in nearby New Cross. The slow moving river of union flags and drooping banners underwent immediate bombardment. A prolonged barrage of bricks and bottles buzzed over the heads of officers restraining hordes of enraged local residents.
The police couldn't hold the burgeoning line, and the locals burst through en masse. Officers drew batons and viciously lashed out at anybody, everybody. Wild kicks and punches went in from both sides. Mounted officers quickly organised a direct charge at the counter demonstration in order to clear the scheduled route of the march. Their haphazard efforts further inflamed the situation.
The NF scuffled and brawled their way into Lewisham Town centre, where they were attacked from all sides. Boots up the arse were taken and given aplenty. Rocks, stones, bottles and broken banner poles flew in all directions. A breakaway group of anti-fascists clambered onto overlooking rooftops and threw bags of dyed red flour down into the melee. The flour bombs added a low swirling crimson mist to the vicious drama.
The deafening soundtrack of war cries, wailing sirens and panicky hooves over broken glass, played on until the early evening. And when all had been done and dusted, everybody went home. Or to a cell, and court in the morning. Quite a few went to hospital.