Not everyone mourns death of Margaret Thatcher

Updated: 2013-04-15 07:55

(China Daily)

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Several hundred people turned up for a "party" in central London on Saturday to celebrate the death of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher as a mass protest predicted by some failed to materialize.

The British capital's mayor had warned of potential rioting as organizers promised thousands of opponents of Thatcher, who died aged 87 on April 8, would descend on London's Trafalgar Square to mark the passing of a leader who was loved and loathed in equal measure. Trafalgar Square is one of London's biggest tourist hubs.

Not everyone mourns death of Margaret Thatcher

Pedestrians walk around St Paul's Cathedral in the city of London on Sunday, where the funeral of late British former prime minister Margaret Thatcher will take place. Ben Stansall / Agence France-Presse

Current British politicians and world leaders past and present have paid tributes to the former premier, Britain's longest-serving prime minister in more than a century, but she continues to divide Britons over policies which saw her crush trade unions and privatize swathes of industry.

The event, which had been planned by left-wing activists in the event of her death decades ago, had been billed as "the party of a lifetime".

But in cold and rainy conditions, it attracted only several hundred jovial and noisy supporters, chanting "Maggie, Maggie, Maggie, dead, dead, dead". Some danced to drums and loud dance music, waving banners bearing messages such as "Rot in hell Thatcher".

Others held up an effigy of Thatcher, complete with light blue suit and handbag, cracked open bottles of champagne which were passed around the small crowd and burnt a mannequin head, shouting "burn Maggie burn".

There were almost as many police and security personnel visibly present, and a police officer at the scene told Reuters they had expected a far bigger turnout.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said the authorities were prepared for potential violence, after trouble erupted at several impromptu street celebrations following the death of the former British prime minister.

No formal demonstration has been organized for Saturday, but more than 1,500 people have pledged on Facebook to attend a "Thatcher's Dead" party at Trafalgar Square.

Representatives of the coal miners who battled Thatcher in a year-long strike in 1984-85, before accepting sweeping pit closures, were planning to travel to the capital for the event alongside students and left-wing groups, The Guardian reported.

Earlier on Friday, the BBC said it will play just five seconds of Ding-Dong! The Witch is Dead on its weekly radio chart show after it surged toward the top spot following Thatcher's death. Opponents of the "Iron Lady" launched an Internet campaign to push the song from the classic film The Wizard of Oz to number one after the former British premier died of a stroke on April 8.