Thatcher Funeral: Pockets Of Protests

There have been some protests - though smaller than expected - at the funeral of Baroness Thatcher.

Rows broke out between supporters of Lady Thatcher and demonstrators outside the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand.

Phil Williams, who was dressed in a suit and black tie, was holding a banner saying "Rest in Shame" and a "piece of s***", drawing loud cheers.

"Sorry, but it needs saying, they're burying an old woman," said the 58-year-old former power station worker from Shotton in Flintshire.

He added: "No one's ever heard of Shotton apart from the fact that they lost 8,000 jobs when the steelworks closed in the early 80s.

"Look at what she did to the North, steelworks, mining, the poll tax. She trialled all these things in the North and made criminals out of a million people. I have no regard for the woman."

Protester Charmain Kenner, 58, had her back turned as Lady Thatcher's coffin went past Trafalgar Square in the hearse.

She said: "Thatcher's policies were all about individualistic materialism. She created a much greater divide between rich and poor, she ruined many communities and many industries.

"Basically, she ruined this country and, to add insult to injury, we're expected to pay for her funeral."

A protester who gave her name only as Helen stood outside St Paul's during the funeral service, wearing a mask of Lady Thatcher's face.

"It would be lovely if other pensioners could spend their last days in luxury at the Ritz," she said.

"I don't really care about Thatcher's death. She obviously didn't really care about the poor or elderly, or those with dementia when she was prime minister.

"I think it's really scandalous that we've spent all this money and time on her funeral. It just adds insult to injury."

Sky's Mike McCarthy, in the former coal town of Goldthorpe in South Yorkshire, said: "There is a truly unique atmosphere. As much of the nation mourns, the mood among former miners and their families in many former coalfields is upbeat and celebratory.

"More than 1,000 people have turned up for what has been described as a death party - unlike any other event I can remember with babies wearing The Witch is Dead T-shirts and a parade lead by a mock hearse and coffin."

In Durham, dozens of ex-miners arrived at a club in Easington Colliery, with many of them saying they were there to celebrate Baroness Thatcher's death.

Dave Douglass, who worked at Doncaster coalfield for 35 years, said he was there to mourn her birth.

"She wanted to smash the union and sell off whatever was profitable," he said.

"I'm here to mourn her birth as she represents the system that we are all still suffering under.

"I'm also here to commemorate the loss of this pit and every pit in Great Britain.

"If people say it's in bad taste to do this, I would say it was in bad taste when miners were killed on the picket lines.

"I have been watching so much psychotic drivel on the news this morning talking about the names of each horse in the funeral. It's the kind of stage-managed stuff we see in North Korea."

In Liverpool, the city council made the decision not to show the funeral on the big screen in the town centre in Clayton Square.

A spokesman said: "We considered the potential issues and the decision was made not to screen the funeral."

However, a crowd of 100 protesters gathered at St George's Plateau in Liverpool and stamped on a coffin bearing an image of Baroness Thatcher and did the conga, while cheering and chanting.

Lady Thatcher was seen as a particularly divisive politician by many on Merseyside due to her attack on the unions which affected thousands of dockers and her perceived lack of interest in the city's problems in the wake of the 1981 Toxteth riots.

At Cumnock in East Ayrshire, the Glenmuir Arms hosted a "funeral party".

Landlord Jim McMahon, a former miner, decked out his pub in Union Flag bunting for a celebration of Lady Thatcher's death in an area where the mining industry was decimated during the years of her reign.

Pub televisions were switched off as a protest against the money spent on the funeral.

Speakers, including former MSP Tommy Sheridan, gave their address from a stage above a pair of papier-mache legs protruding from a sealed box, alongside a witch's broom.

Republicans in Northern Ireland marked the funeral of Baroness Thatcher with a celebratory cake, mock champagne bottles and milk cartons alongside an effigy of a skeleton with the former PM's head on it in the deeply nationalist Bogside in Londonderry, where the 30-year conflict began.

Demonstrators waved Irish and Argentinian flags and sounded horns as at Free Derry Corner - a political rallying spot.

Four people were arrested aged between 14 and 22 in connection with the seizure of 20 bottles and two containers of petrol.

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