A council meeting was halted when angry demonstrators entered the debating chamber to accuse the Kensington and Chelsea administration of asset-stripping.
Tensions boiled over after close to more than 70 people marched from North Kensington Library to the council HQ in Hornton Street, resulting in some of the protesters entering the debating chamber and halting proceedings for 30 minutes.
Organisers of the Public Not Private march say the occupancy was not planned and was the result of poorly organised security at the town hall.
But council leader Nick Paget-Brown said staff were threatened and assaulted and that police are now involved. A spokesperson called allegations of asset-stripping "ludicrous".
The disorder was the culmination of a march which began at 5pm at North Kensington Library in Ladbroke Grove.
The council is planning to lease the 125-year-old building to Notting Hill Prep School and build a new library nearby which it says will be fit for purpose and better placed to serve the community.
Among the organisations taking part were protest group Westway23 and West London Stables, which is fighting for its existence .
The march was organised by Edward Daffarn, from Grenfell Action Group. He said: “Kensington and Chelsea is basically asset-stripping public buildings in north Kensington and giving it to private education or property developers.
“This library is a line in the sand. We’ve also had Maxilla Children’s Centre, Westway Information Centre, Kensington and Chelsea College.
“These are buildings they’re taking from us and that’s what we are protesting about. There’s no reason the library should be handed over to a private prep school.”
But the council said the accusations "conveniently ignores massive investments in public buildings across the borough".
A RBKC spokesperson said: “In North Kensington we have funded a brand new academy and leisure centre as well as extensive modernisation of primary schools.
“What we are actually doing is building a bigger and better North Kensington Library at a time when many councils are closing their libraries. Our intention is this new library will be a first-class public building for North Kensington which is quite the opposite of Mr Daffern’s claims that we are intent on denuding North Kensington of public space."
He said to pay for such investment and help front-line services for residents that the council will look to rent out property which is surplus to requirements.
But he added: “Nothing is being 'handed over' to a private school despite what some continue to assert. In fact, we are agreeing to rent the space (when the library has moved to its new, bigger home across the street) at a very significant premium to the current building’s market value.”
Speaking about the incident at the town hall, Mr Daffarn continued: “The peaceful occupation of the chamber that included good natured drumming and singing was a spontaneous reaction to the poorly arranged and chaotic handling of our supporters by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
“Over 75 local residents had marched in an ordered and dignified fashion only to be met at the town hall by the council’s amateurish and ineffectual security operation, that was completely inappropriate to deal with the arrival of our group despite being forewarned we were coming.
“If RBKC had organised properly there would’ve been no palaver and there would’ve been no need for protesters to enter the council chamber itself in order to taste democracy.”
Cllr Paget-Brown saw the occupancy differently. He said: “The council has always respected and even facilitated people’s democratic rights to disagree with, or protest against its policies.
“Unfortunately, the people who chose to invade the council chamber last night crossed a line. These protesters had no interest in debate or discussion - they were bent on disorder.
“Staff were assaulted and threatened and the police are now involved.”
But Niles Hailstones, chairman of Westway23 , said he saw no violence: “I’m not aware of any assaults, I don’t really know what that’s about. They’re going to have to explain what they mean by that.
“I know I didn’t see any assaults by anyone. What I did see was security manhandling some people in an overzealous way.”
A similar protest took place last year , with objections raised to the council funding of the Opera Holland Park.
Video credit: Catherine Faulks / @lionhouse33