TWO York brothers demonstrating in support of British troops in the Gulf today told how an anti-war protester attacked their demo and smashed up their banners.

Andrew and Martin Gibson are holding weekly demos behind York Crown Court, close to Fishergate.

But though they say they have received plenty of public support, two days ago the brothers, and Andrew's 13-year-old son, Jason were taken by surprise as the passer-by charged at them.

He ripped their banners then snapped some of the sticks holding them up.

Andrew, of Constantine Avenue, Tang Hall, said: "He was screaming 'murderers', and 'why don't you fight the f***ing war yourselves.'"

Martin said: "The same bloke had been down the week before, shouting abuse.

"It was pre-planned. He was like a rabid dog."

The brothers have vowed to continue their action.

Andrew said: "This is a free country, the bloke that did this should be capable of accepting other people's points of view. All these anti-war demos are going on, that is fine by us, we want to be able to make our point.

"It is not like we are even making a pro-war protest. All we are saying is our troops are there, let's give them our support and lets see them come home safely."

A York Police spokesman said the incident was being investigated.

York Against The War spokesman Rory Palmer said the incident had nothing to do with YAW.

Mr Palmer said: "People have a legitimate right to protest and we respect that. We absolutely deplore this incident and would like to stress this individual's actions were in no way connected to us."

Updated: 10:34 Tuesday, April 08, 2003