Thatcher's death 'celebrated' in London - Al Jazeera English

Thatcher's death 'celebrated' in London

Anarchists, former miners, middle-aged couples and the elderly joined together in protest.

Pennie R Quinton |

London, United Kingdom - Anarchist group Class War has, for decades now, been circulating the idea that, on the first Saturday after the death of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, those opposed to her divisive leadership should head for London's Trafalgar Square to celebrate her demise.

The grisly nature of partying after the death of an elderly woman may be seen as being in poor taste by many. It was, however, perhaps inevitable that such an event would take place, given the depth of bitterness held by many in those communities which were blighted by coal mine closures, rampant privatisation and the imposition of a radically right-wing social and economic agenda.

"I am not surprised by the parties, which show that events of 30-40 years ago still engender that kind of violent reaction - because her reign was very divisive and controversial, and people still remember that today," the Right Reverent Tim Ellis, Bishop of Grantham, told the BBC.

Former miners travelled from the England's north-east, proudly displaying the banner of their trade union.

One former pit worker from a town ravaged by years of unemployment following Thatcher's closures drank champagne and told Al Jazeera that he was "glad" she was dead.

The notorious British rain poured down, but failed to dampen spirits of those gathered, who stayed in the square until around 2am.

Further protests are expected on the day of Thatcher's controversial ceremonial £10 million ($15m) funeral. Protesters have been given the go-ahead by police to turn their backs to the former prime minister's coffin as it makes its way through central London, but officers have warned that anyone causing "harassment" would likely face arrest.

The Queen, former Prime Minister Tony Blair, US politician Newt Gingrich and FW deKlerk, the last white president of South Africa, will be attending the funeral.

Follow Pennie Quinton on Twitter: @penrosequinton

Programme Highlights