VIDEO: London church escalated to violence

15th October 2013

By Alexandra Rucki

Violence erupted at the re-consecration of a church as a long-running rift between rival worshippers saw a protest turn ugly.

Police arrested five people as the protest, which had begun on Saturday escalated to all out combat on Sunday outside the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, in St Philip Street, Battersea

It is believed the dispute, ongoing for 10 months, is over the election of trustees to run the church.

The church closed in April this year to clear the air and was reconsecrated on the weekend by two bishops who flew over from Ethiopia.

Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, in St Philip Street

Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, in St Philip Street

Police brought in extra offices and instructed Transport for London (TfL) to close part of the road during the protest, but fighting broke out behind the building following a peaceful ceremony attended by 200 worshippers.

Tewodros Gebru was charged with assault and intent of robbery, Dawrit Girmay was charged with affray and assaulting a police officer and Ammanuel Kidane for affray and assaulting a police officer.

Another man has been arrested for affray, while a fifth arrest was made for immigration offences.

Video by David Wheeler

Chief Inspector Steve McSorley said: “At some point, as people were leaving, a dispute started between members of the factions away from the church.

“It led to some allegations of assault, we had to call in units from other boroughs.

“We are trying to work out our policing plan. We are trying to engage their intentions for next weekend and make sure we are well resourced to be able to deal with it.”

Children aged three upwards were not able to go to Sunday school in nearby Ridley Hall Church in Broughton Street as a result of the protest.

In May last year Gebrehana Semre, a priest at the church, was given a suspended sentence for sexual assault and is believed to still be practising at the church.

Police have said this is not linked to the weekend’s violence.

Tewodros Gebru will appear at Wimbledon Magistrates Court on October 28.

Dawrit Girmay and Ammanuel Kidane will appear on October 29.

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Posted by on October 16, 2013. Filed under NEWS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

3 Responses to VIDEO: London church escalated to violence

  1. Nesanet

    October 16, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    Weyane killers are now trying to steal our church after stealing billions of dollars from our poor people back homenow they came to our church which Ethiopian build years ago while weyane was in jungle destroying Ethiopians infrastructure .this people need to know that there is a rule of law in western cantrys that law abiding citizens would not be rubbed by this weyane mafiyas may our god bless our church and those wonderful Christians at London church..

  2. Letyibelu

    October 18, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    If Orthodox believers protest, will that make then Protestant? I believe so. All is in a name.

  3. Sudike

    October 31, 2013 at 6:42 PM

    Are Orthodox Tewahdo Ethiopian Church priests allowed to have a female sexual partner? If not why is it the Orthodox Tewahdo Ethiopian church priest in Oakland , California is openly having a mistress residing with him. Others church servants and church members know about it and talk about it at church gatherings all though october 2013 in public without anyone taking any action about it like it is normal for a priest to be engaged in such kind of an activity .Most still continue to go to church like it is normal for their priest to be engaged in such kind of activity. Some just decided to go out of town to another church. Some of us are confused not knowing what to do when other priest bares witness about the sexual immorality act that is being commited . We need help in Oakland , california USA Saint Gebriel Ethiopian Orthodocx Tewahodo Church.