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Thatcher's body taken to UK parliament

Body of former prime minister moved to Houses of Parliament where it will stay overnight ahead of ceremonial funeral.

Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 02:40
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The body of Margaret Thatcher, the former British prime minister, has been taken to the Houses of Parliament where it will stay overnight ahead of her funeral.

Thatcher is being given a ceremonial funeral with full military honours - to the chagrin of some Britons - amid concerns that protests by opponents of her policies will mar the event.

The 'Iron Lady,' who transformed Britain during her 11-year tenure, died on April 8, aged 87.

On Wednesday morning, her coffin, draped in a red, white and blue Union flag, will travel by hearse to the church of St Clement Danes before being borne on a horse-drawn gun carriage to St Paul's Cathedral.

More than 4,000 police officers will be on duty amid a major security operation.

The ceremony will be the first time the queen has attended a prime ministerial funeral since Winston Churchill died in 1965.

The Falklands War, viewed by many of her admirers as Thatcher's finest hour, will be a central theme with veterans of the 1982 conflict with Argentina walking behind her coffin.

Argentina will pointedly not be represented among the 2,300 guests, who include US political figures Dick Cheney and Henry Kissinger, the prime ministers of Canada, Israel, Italy, Poland and Kuwait, and show business stars from Thatcher's time in power.

But the pomp and splendour, paid for with millions of pounds of public money, has sparked criticism from those who argue that Thatcher was too polarising a figure to merit such a state-sponsored send-off.

Opponents of the former Conservative leader are planning protests to highlight the damage wrought by her radical free-market economic reforms, which created mass unemployment in Britain's industrial heartlands.

More than 800 people have pledged to attend an event called "Maggie's good riddance party", while others intend to turn their backs as the funeral cortege passes by.

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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