:)Mnar Jo Erickson With full military honors, the coffin bearing the body of one of Britain’s most divisive politicians of modern times, was escorted by representatives of the armed forces to a service before a congregation of 2,300 international dignitaries, former state leaders and HRH Queen Elizabeth II. Breaking the traditions of British state […]
With full military honors, the coffin bearing the body of one of Britain’s most divisive politicians of modern times, was escorted by representatives of the armed forces to a service before a congregation of 2,300 international dignitaries, former state leaders and HRH Queen Elizabeth II.
Breaking the traditions of British state funerals, which are usually reserved for royalty and wartime leaders, Baroness Thatcher’s funeral was commemorated by former President of South Africa De Kerke, former British Prime Ministers Tony Blair and John Major, former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and others.
It was also commemorated with burning effigies of Margaret in a coffin, protester arrests and people turning their backs to Thatcher’s coffin as it paraded the streets of London.
Live BBC media coverage showed the pomp and pageantry of the state funeral, but protesters like Simon Maginn complained of a BBC cover-up of the mass demonstrations. “The BBC refuses to show the true picture, there are protesters trying to make their point, but the BBC refuses to show that side.”
Missing from the media coverage was the coal mining community celebration of Margaret Thatcher’s death. In Goldthorpe, South Yorkshire, pubs were decorated with banners and former miners gathered to hang an effigy of Lady Thatcher outside the Union Jack pub, with signs reading “Thatcher the milk snatcher.”
People dressed in National Coal Board clothing gathered outside the pub and several National Union of Mineworkers banners were displayed.
A coffin was also brought out to parade through the street before being set alight, and one house displayed a sign which read: “The Lady is not for turning but tonight she’ll be for burning.” Fireworks were planned for later today.
In nearby Grimethorpe, an old pit winding wheel used for mining had been placed at the entrance to the village, with a sign which read: “Thatcher died naturally but she murdered our pit.”
Groups of miners also turned up at a club in County Durham to have a “good-knees up” to celebrate her death, according to Durham Miners Association General Secretary David Hopper. Hopper, who was at the pub in Easington Colliery, said: “Everyone who is here from Durham Miners is here to celebrate her death and everyone we have invited is here to celebrate her death.”
“She destroyed our jobs, our communities, our youth’s future and made an incessant attack on miners in their communities.”
In London, the mood of protesters from the anti-Thatcher and Anarchist U.K. movement was still one of anger, but the presence of police made it difficult to make their protest heard. Jayne Manning said, “The police are intimidating us, we are being pushed into sections away from the media. They’ve stopped and searched me, all of us, several times, going through my bags, it’s crazy. It’s like you’re not allowed to protest.”
With Boston’s bombings occurring days earlier, security for the state funeral was stepped up; this led to the arrests of three men close to the funeral route on the evening before the funeral.
The men were spotted on Threadneedle Street on Tuesday night after officers noticed freshly-painted graffiti on a wall. When officers searched the men’s vehicle, they discovered tins of paint and other items that could be used to cause criminal damage.
The men, aged 26, 48 and 55, were arrested and taken to a central London police station for questioning. It was not clear what the graffiti said, but it is understood to have been an anti-Thatcher slogan.
More than 4,000 officers are on duty for the funeral ceremony; many were deployed especially to deal with the planned protest of the turning backs away from the coffin as it passes along the funeral route. Scotland Yard warned anyone planning to disrupt the ceremony that they would be “dealt with.”
Commander Christine Jones, who was overseeing the Metropolitan Police security operation, said: “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 have been approached by a small number of people planning to protest. We are working with them.”
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe said those attending the event could expect more bag searches and would witness a greater police presence on the streets of the capital.
As protester Jayne Manning said, “Stop and search is one thing, intimidating behavior and shepherding [herding] protesters to far corners away from the direct route is called – deny me my right to protest.”