Hundreds celebrate Thatcher's death

Hundreds of people gathered in the rain at London’s Trafalgar Square tonight to mark the death of Margaret Thatcher.

Hundreds celebrate Thatcher's death

Hundreds of people gathered in the rain at London’s Trafalgar Square tonight to mark the death of Margaret Thatcher.

Protesters against the former prime minister’s legacy brought sparklers, party poppers and balloons.

Some drank cider and Champagne while others wore party hats as they chanted slogans about Thatcher, who died at The Ritz on Monday.

Members of the National Union of Mineworkers travelled to the capital from North East England, with others joining them from Scotland and Wales.

UK Uncut members, protesting about welfare cuts, also joined the demonstration.

Security was tight, with police officers stationed throughout the square, and police vans parked in all the streets surrounding it. There were reports of minor scuffles between protesters and police.

Scotland Yard said they had an “appropriate policing operation” in place.

The Greater London Authority had also brought in security officers to manage the crowds.

One protester, drinking from a mug that read “I still hate Thatcher”, said the event – initially planned by now defunct anarchist group Class War – had been years in the planning.

The 49-year-old, who gave his name only as Steve, said: “I was here during the Poll Tax riot in the 1990s.

“Subsequently, I was given a leaflet saying Class War was going to organise a party on the first Saturday after she died, and I’ve never, ever forgotten it.

“I’ve come from Brighton to be here today. I believe it’s something not to be celebrated, but something that needs to be marked in history.”

Andy Withers, 49, who carried a sign saying “There is such a thing as society”, said: “I’m not here to celebrate Thatcher’s death – but what’s going on tonight is part of the legacy she created.”

Richard Watson, 45, from Brentwood, Essex, was joined by daughter Sian, 20. The pair wore party hats and danced around in the square, with Mr Watson saying: “We’ve been waiting a long time for this. It’s not a spur of the moment decision. I’ve known about this party for years – it’s an opportunity of a lifetime.”

He questioned the decision that taxpayers’ money would be used in part to pay for Thatcher’s ceremonial funeral next week, saying of her family: “Why can’t they pay for it out of their estate?”.

Fergus Ray Murray, 34, from north London, made an effigy of Lady Thatcher from recycled materials, which was cheered as he carried it through the crowds. He said: “It’s a chance to lay her to rest as much as possible.”

More in this section

IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox