By a Newsnet reporter

Margaret Thatcher’s funeral in St Paul’s cathedral in London today will be one of the most heavily policed events in years, with over 4,000 police officers due to be in attendance in order to control anti-Thatcher protests.

Shops lining the processional route to be taken by the funeral cortege have been instruced to hide any object which could be used by protestors as a weapon, and businesses have been asked to block off entrances in an attempt to forestall potential outbreaks of violence.

In a letter to businesses lining the route, the City of London police have issued instruction to remove “dustbins, ladders or loose tools and equipment, which could be used to gain access or used as weapons”.

Businesses have also been advised to ensure that their CCTV systems are fully operational, and to report any “suspicious behaviour” to the police.  Central London will be on virtual lockdown during the event, with the route being lined with a police officer every few yards.  Additional police officers are being kept ready to attend any “flashpoints” which may develop.  So called “sterile areas” will be set up, which will be closed to the public.

In a statement Metropolitan police’s Commander Christine Jones said that legitimate protests would be allowed, but that the police would quickly act against any law-breaking.

Commander Jones said:  “Every operation that we deliver is based upon a thorough assessment of the potential risks and threats, and we plan the most effective ways to mitigate against them. We wish to deliver our operation in a way that protects public safety within the context of a broader security operation – as with many ceremonial London events.”

She added:

“The right to conduct peaceful protest is a tenet of our democracy, however, that right is qualified in that protest does not stray into acts of crime or violence or the instigation of crime or violence.

“We will continue to review our intelligence and evidence picture, and although to date no arrests connected to the ceremonial funeral have yet been made, should the need arise to arrest those who are committing acts of crime or violence, or conspiring to do so, we will respond accordingly.”

The event is expected to attact a number of protests, organised by people who are angered by the reported cost of £12 million for what is tantamount to a state funeral for a politician who was reviled by many.

A number of groups are reportedly organising protests using online media such as Facebook or Twitter.  One group plans to turn their backs on the cortege as it passes, while another group claims that it will throw milk in the road as the funeral procession passes, a reference to Thatcher’s pre-Prime Ministerial nickname “Milk Snatcher”.

More than 800 people have pledged to attend an event called “Maggie’s good riddance party”, promising a “right jolly knees-up” outside St Paul’s Cathedral, where the funeral is to be held.  The protest’s Facebook page says:

“Let the world know the hypocrisy of a state-funded funeral for the person who influenced 30 years of cuts to state funding of welfare.

“If taxpayers are funding her funeral … we can at least get our money’s worth.”

Economic equality movement Occupy have said the funeral has been imposed upon the population. Occupy London spokesperson Richard Paton said: 

“The Conservative Party and a group of tabloid editors have foisted this vulgar funeral on us and I think the vast majority of British people do not want it.

“Quite apart from the [EU] rebate, Margaret Thatcher wasted the North Sea oil windfall which came on tap in 1980, [and she created] a housing bubble which we still suffer from.  Why should she have this funeral?”

A recent opinion poll suggests 61% of British adults believe it is wrong to protest at the funeral, and two-thirds think celebrating someone’s death is inappropriate.  However, 54% said that they were not interested in watching the funeral, with just 28% planning to watch the event on television.  The ComRes survey found that only 25% of people think the event should be funded by the public, with 60% against the idea.

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2013-04-17 06:16

History has been re-written as a backdrop to this event.

This is the most expensive party political broadcast for the Tory party every presented – written and produced by Gordon Brown and Tony Blair.

Paid for by you.

We will not see any protests today because the degree of police and undercover control will be akin to North Korea.

Manipulation of the media / military parades at every opportunity / distortion of history / power used to create family wealth / fake outpouring of grief / WMD when people are deprived basic living conditions. Is that a description of North Korea or the UK?

Oh well – no use crying over spilt milk! (Or the lack of it)
2013-04-17 08:58

the irony is that in life she caused the kick starting the nationalist movement; in death – and in particular considering today’s events – she may well do the same again.
2013-04-17 10:09

She divided the nation north to south in life and she continues to do it in death, aided and abetted by the Tory party and the London based broadcast media.
This funeral will have long-lasting effects on the unity of the country. Much of that can be laid at the feet of the BBC.
2013-04-17 10:20

Thatcher shoved down our throats, and salt rubbed into the wounds of the Scots. A woman that brought so much poverty, despair and sorrow to the people of Scotland will be glorified today by a government we did not elect and we will be forced to watch and pay for all this. It’s blatantly obvious, Scottish feelings are irrelevant.
edinburgh quine
2013-04-17 10:28

Cameron has been quoted as saying “we’re all thatcherites now”. News to me
The Tree of Liberty
2013-04-17 11:03

Ah I don’t think my faither fought in the war for this affront to democracy.
2013-04-17 11:40

David Cameron Claims ‘We Are All Thatcherites Now’ As He Defends Funeral Cost…/…
2013-04-17 11:56

Curran said this morning “The best way to challenge Margaret Thatcher is to challenge her politics, and challenge the legacy she has left and determine that we will never go down that route again.” labour in power between 97-10 didn’t change it because labour agreed with the policies of Thatcher and kept them just like Tony Blair said a few days ago! remember as well labour opposed the steel works, mines etc being shutdown and won votes that way but when they got into power they didn’t reindustrailes but continued the free market and deregulation of the banks that Thatcher started and we know what happened there curran was part of “Scottish” labour that built 7 council houses so where was the challenge of building more council houses which were reduced due to right to buy an has resulted in bedroom tax which labour support! oops I thought you were challenging Thatchers legacy!
2013-04-17 12:03

Reference the Falklands War.

According to Wikipedia the population of the Falklands was 2841.

The deaths were as follows:-Argentinians 649 British forces 255 Falkland Islanders 3 Total 907.

So the death rate was almost one-third of the Falkland Islands’ population.

Was it really worth it? Or was it for the oil in the South Atlantic and the mineral resources in Antarctica. ( you have to have a coast facing Antarctica to claim these resources.

Or am I being too cynical?

2013-04-17 12:45

Of course it was worth it. When your country is attacked, you defend it.

SNP Accused
2013-04-17 12:40

O/T Excellent news re Scottish Unemployment and Growth v. RUK…/…

Wonder how they’ll spin that!

Although Micheal Moore seems to be trying to steal the credit
2013-04-17 12:53

“We Are All Thatcherites Now”.

If that is not David Cameron giving Scotland his blessing for Independence, I don’t know what is.
2013-04-17 13:54

OT – Breaking News

Just read this in the P&J;:

A poll has shown that the vast majority of people in Shetland and Orkney believe the northern isles should remain part of Scotland…/…

This puts another Unionist myth to bed.
2013-04-17 14:17

I hope people remember that the next time some of the people BTL at the likes of the Guardian start talking about the Northern Isles going independent (with the oil), or staying with the UK. Trying to get it into their heads that there is no serious secession movement is nigh on impossible with some, because what they are really doing is indulging in a revenge fantasy, and they don’t want a few awkward facts getting in the way.
2013-04-17 15:52

Of course they do; they’re Scottish.
2013-04-17 15:54

Cant wait to hear about this on the BBC. …… yeah. sorry only joking

2013-04-17 15:20

Looking through Wiki I was amazed to see this prescient assessment of the young Thatcher by ICI personnel Dept. “In 1948, she applied for a job at ICI, but was rejected after the personnel department assessed her as “headstrong, obstinate and dangerously self-opinionated.” I hope the assessor was well paid for his/her skill!

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