Catford residents were left shocked by scenes outside the Lewisham East by-election hustings, which saw one demonstrator yelling “Islam, stop raping white girls.”

Catford resident Samir Ibrahim was heading out to buy some food when he came across the demonstration which saw protestors, far-right supporters and police jostling outside the Salvation Army in Catford.

Mr Ibrahim stopped to watch what was going on before he became a target of abuse from a man yelling “Islam, stop raping white girls.”

This came as protestors organised by Stand Up to Racism and Lewisham Anti-Racist Action Group blocked access to the hustings in response to anti-Islam candidate Anne Marie Waters’ expected attendance.

Ms Walters said she had been told to stay away from the hustings by police.

Mr Ibrahim was shocked by the man’s abuse, and said it was something he had never experienced before, in or outside the borough.

“He is saying Islam is raping white girls and as a Muslim, as a human being, when I hear something like that, what this man is saying, it’s just too much,” he said.

“I was just observing and then all of a sudden this gentleman, I will still afford him that by calling him a gentleman, is talking so much badness. When I hear that I am so offended by it.

“I am a human being just like yourself, just like him.”

Mr Ibrahim was moved by the anti-racist protestors, he said.

“When I look at these people demonstrating though, they aren’t Muslims, they don’t look like Muslims. A lot of them are white,” he said.

“I am honoured and proud that they would stand up for us.”

Fellow resident Tony Cisse said there was an “absence of tension” between cultures, religions and ethnicities in the borough.

He said he was a teenager in the so-called Battle for Lewisham,which saw hundreds of right-wing extremists march through the borough before clashes with anti-racist protestors prevented them from marching in 1977,  and said it was important for him to show his support for the anti-racist protestors.

“It is important to do because if you let it go next time it will be bigger,” he said.

Police attended the hustings amid fears of a clash between supporters of For Britain’s Anne Marie Waters and protestors.

Votes in Lewisham East have gone to the polls today to elect a new MP.