The masks were supposed to depict Marion Gettleson, a figurehead of the Save Portobello Facebook campaign (37,268 supporters and counting), who had been banned from 17 antiques shops and arcades owned by landlord Warren Todd in the wake of campaigners' success in defeating his plans to bring seven-day trading to the Admiral Vernon arcade at the heart of the market.
The traders were angry at the serving of a "notice of exclusion" on Mrs Gettleson at her shop, Delehar, forbidding her from entering the premises listed on the notice for a year because of her "persistent leafleting/agitation of market traders".
The notice warned her that if she breached its terms she would be treated as a trespasser.
Mrs Gettleson, who fully intended to ignore the notice and visit the shops and arcades on Saturday, has already challenged the legality of the notice which was issued by Mr Todd's business associate, Lee Clifford, without any sanction from the police or other authorities.
She told ATG that although Mr Todd was the landlord of the various premises, the right to ban people from them lay with the tenants who held leases. And she made it clear that the notice was little more than an attempt at a gagging order to prevent free speech.
As a trader who buys regularly at the arcades and claims to have spent millions there over the decades, Mrs Gettleson said such a ban would damage her business and that of other dealers.
However, she feels that the tide has started to turn on the whole issue of development in Portobello, partially because of public support and the involvement of influential public figures, but also because of reaction to two new planning applications, one affecting antiques shops – at 285 Westbourne Grove, and at 287-289, opposite the controversial All Saints development.
These applications take the battle into the borough's Pembridge Villas ward, whose councillors had previously seemed open to the idea of new development and seven-day trading in Portobello but now face protest from their own constituents.
As ATG noted (Personal View, Back Page issue no 1989), April 19's planning meeting showed councillors ignoring officers' recommendations and winning public praise for refusing an application for seven-day trading at Admiral Vernon.
Decisions on the new applications (PP/11/01004 and PP/11/01044) are due to be taken on May 27 and June 1 respectively.
Meanwhile, in a two-pronged attack on the further erosion of the market, Portobello Antique Dealers' Association chairman Costas Kleanthous has also been building the case against the applications.