PANDEMONIUM broke out at a Haringey Council meeting last night when angry protesters stormed the civic centre in Wood Green and clashed with police in a spending cuts row.

Council leader Claire Kober branded the demonstration an "utter disgrace" after a council porter was knocked over and a policewoman injured as a crowd clamoured to break into the council chamber.

She said: "I know the activists in Haringey and I don't think that some of the people here tonight are genuine residents, just a fringe group that came here to cause trouble and stop local people's voices from being heard.

"After what happened in Lewisham and Lambeth, we were expecting a turnout tonight and have been working with police all week to ensure what happened went smoothly. What has happened tonight is a council porter just doing her job was attacked and criminal damage was caused. This is not my idea of democracy."

Three riot police and more than 20 officers were called to clear the chamber and the meeting went ahead nearly one-and-a-half hours later than planned.

Members of the public were banned from the meeting, available on webcast, and three deputations from Save Haringey Youth Centres, Haringey Youth Council and Haringey Alliance for Public Services.

The chaos followed a peaceful protest on the steps outside the building where hundreds of residents turned up to voice their concerns over the swingeing £34 million public cuts the council approved last night over the coming year.

Long-serving councillor Sheila Peacock, speaking after being evacuated from the building, said: "In all my time, I have never seen anything like this. We've had flour chucked at us. Once, orange juice – but this is the first time we've ever had to leave the chamber.

"It just breaks my heart. Making these cuts goes against the grain of what it means to be a Labour politician. We would never have made these cuts under ordinary circumstances and feel that this anger should be directed at the coalition Government."

Youth workers, the elderly, the disabled and other voluntary groups had gathered on the steps ahead of the full council meeting scheduled to start at 7.30pm.

But as the meeting was about to start a small faction tried to force their way into the council chamber, instead of heading to the public gallery.

They were held back by Haringey police officers, who were eventually pushed out of the way. One female officer was heard screaming "please let me go" and was left in floods of tears.

Approximately 20 protesters made it into the chamber where they proceeded to write "no more cuts" on the wall, climbed on furniture and sat in the chair usually reserved for the mayor and the chief executive.

One woman, who police tried to restrain, was heard screaming: "You're all obsolete. I never voted for a single one of you."

After the protesters had been evicted from the building, police formed a blockade outside.