Protests in London today over Thatcher’s legacy could lead to violence, police fear

Authorities face major challenge in coping with three protests and FA Cup semi-final

Mark Thatcher greets his sister Carol as she arrives at the home of their monther in Belgravia, London. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Mark Thatcher greets his sister Carol as she arrives at the home of their monther in Belgravia, London. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire


Margaret Thatcher as it passes through London’s streets on its way to St Paul’s Cathedral on Wednesday.

So far, three thousand people have supported a Facebook page condemning the decision to grant a ceremonial funeral with full military honours to the former prime minister.

Police will be on alert today because of plans by anarchist groups to hold a party in Trafalgar Square tonight to celebrate Mrs Thatcher’s death. The square was the scene of a riot against poll tax in 1990.

The likelihood of violence increased with Millwall football fans’ threats to break up any “anti-Maggie” protests.

Thousands of Millwall supporters fans will begin to leave Wembley after their team’s FA Cup semi

-final match against Wigan, which is due to finish at 7pm.

The difficulties facing police are heightened because London will host two demonstrations against policies being followed by the ConservativesLiberal Democrats coalition.

Protest group UK Uncut will hold a series of demonstrations throughout the city against welfare cuts introduced this month, while a TUC-led protest will be held in Tottenham.

Scotland Yard said yesterday mobile units of reserves would be on standby to respond.

London mayor Boris Johnson has said police are prepared for rioting. Calling for calm, he said people are free to protest but “what they can’t do is, I think, is use the death of an elderly person to begin riot or affray”.

Baroness Thatcher’s remains will rest overnight in the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft in the Houses of Parliament on the eve of her funeral.

A service to receive her coffin attended by 100 people will be held on Tuesday at 4pm, attended by family and senior parliamentary figures, along with staff who worked for her during her time in politics


Meanwhile, a police officer has resigned following a series of offensive tweets about Lady Thatcher, in one of which he said he hoped she had suffered “a painful and degrading” death.

The speedy decision of Sgt Jeremy Scott (52) to quit will guarantee his pension, since he was on the point of facing a disciplinary hearing.

The Labour leader on Coventry city council, Cllr John Mutton, has enraged Conservatives after he joked in a leaked email that he would prefer to fly a flag with “a happy smiling face” above city hall on Wednesday, rather than a union flag at half-mast.

In an exchange of emails between Labour councillors, which was accidentally shared with Conservative colleagues, another said he would “have preferred to see her hanging from a flagpole in the early 80s!”.

Cllr David Chater said his joke had been made in a private email: “I did think about her as a frail old lady when I heard of her death.

“But my comments were made in the context of the 1980s when I became a councillor. In one month we lost 26,000 jobs in the manufacturing base.”