Thatcher death: Peaceful celebration in Trafalgar Sq

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AROUND 200 hundred people gathered in the rain in Trafalgar Square last night to mark the death of Baroness Thatcher.

Protesters against the former Prime Minister’s legacy brought sparklers, party poppers and balloons to the event in central London.

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 Scotland, the north-east of England and Wales.

They were joined by UK Uncut members, protesting about the current government’s welfare cuts.

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.

Among the demonstrators was Paul McNamara, 37, originally from Aberdeen but now based in London.

He said: “I’m here because I hated Thatcher and everything she stood for. She treated us Scots like we were second class citizens, trying the Poll Tax out on us. So I’m glad she’s gone and I wanted to come down and celebrate.”

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.”

A group of former National Union of Miners members from near Sunderland stood on the steps outside The National Gallery where they unfurled a banner and cheered.

Their spokesman, Dave Douglass, a former member of the union’s executive committee defended their decision to celebrate Thatcher’s death.

The 70-year-old said: “It’s magic that she’s gone. People will say that it’s bad that we’re here today but with her policies she ruined thousands of lives up and down the country.

“We had one of the cheapest, safest industries in the UK before she came along and ruined it. Kenneth Clarke was on the news the other day saying we didn’t need the coal, but if that’s the case, why are we buying so much in.”

His views were echoed by David Jones and his wife Glenda who had travelled to London from Abergavenny, South Wales.

The 42-year-old said: “I come from a family of miners so it feels right to be here. I can’t imagine making this journey for anyone else, but it feels right to be here today and I would have regretted it, if we hadn’t come.”

Despite reported threats that football supporters were going to attend the protest to defend the late prime minister’s honour, last night’s event passed off peacefully. The crowd was smaller than had been expected.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said that by 8pm five people had been arrested.