Scores of pro-community protesters besieged a new Tesco store in Norwich on its first day of opening following a bitter seven-year battle.

The group of more than 40 campaigners was led by former Green county councillor and founder member of the 'Residents Against Unthank Tesco' group, Chris Hull.

Hull, who dressed as the Star Wars villain Darth Vader for the protest, said the store represented a dark future for local independents and the community.

The protest came in the same week that an independent retailer in Oxford vowed to fight plans for four new Tesco stores to be set up within a two-mile radius of his Londis store. Dharamaraj Prasad, whose store would be sandwiched between two Tescos at either end of his street, said he owed it to his customers to fight the plans.

"Business is difficult as it is and this could force us to close, but we will fight on for the sake of our shoppers," he said.

Dharamaraj has organised a petition among his customers. He added: "If people don't support us then we'll disappear and our regular customers, especially our elderly ones, will suffer."