Around 20 people -including several parents with babies – staged a demonstration in Mowbray Road in Crystal Palace, south London.
Skanska is carrying out a five-year street light replacement and maintenance programme for Croydon Council and the London Borough of Lewisham.
The cast iron Victorian-style lights were installed in Mowbray Road in 2001 and are a big hit with the residents.
Resident Mark Richardson told the Evening Standard: “We were hugging the lamp posts and saying how nice they are.
“But the builders said they were following orders and to speak to the council, who have failed to give us any proper answers.”
A Croydon council spokesman said the new lights would be brighter and more energy-efficient.
He added: “Careful thought was given to the types of columns installed in different areas.
“Although this was a peaceful situation our contractors sensibly asked the police to attend so they could continue their work.”