Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Thatcher funeral protesters will turn backs on coffin as it passes

A protester wears a mask depicting former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during a party to mark her death in central London's Trafalgar square, Saturday, April 13, 2013
A protester wears a mask depicting former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during a party to mark her death in central London's Trafalgar square, Saturday, April 13, 2013
A protester wears a mask depicting former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during a party to mark her death in central London's Trafalgar square, Saturday, April 13, 2013
A protester wears a mask depicting former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during a party to mark her death in central London's Trafalgar square, Saturday, April 13, 2013
Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Visit to Northern Ireland.  Director of the Belfast Tool and Gauge Company, Mr David Woods (left) discusses the workings of engineering components with Margaret Thatcher and department foreman Mr Robert McCullough at the factory.   6/3/1981
BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE
Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Visit to Northern Ireland. Director of the Belfast Tool and Gauge Company, Mr David Woods (left) discusses the workings of engineering components with Margaret Thatcher and department foreman Mr Robert McCullough at the factory. 6/3/1981 BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE

Plans to mark the funeral of Baroness Thatcher with approved and 'guerrilla' protests along the route of the ceremonial procession gathered pace yesterday.

More than 300 people had last night already signed up to turn their backs on the former Prime Minister's Union flag-draped coffin as it is marches past on a gun carriage close to the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand tomorrow morning en route to St Paul's Cathedral.

Scotland Yard refused to confirm claims from organisers that the symbolic protest has been given formal permission to proceed by officers planning the security operation accompanying the funeral, which will involve up to 4,000 police.

The discord between protesters – who have vowed to create as much noise as possible as the solemn cortege proceeds – and organisers of the ceremony will be increased by the decision to silence Big Ben for the first time since the funeral of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965.

An early morning rehearsal of the proceedings yesterday was accompanied by an increase in preparations by those seeking to use the occasion to express their disapproval of the ex-premier.

Instructions on how to target the funeral with slogans and songs celebrating Lady Thatcher's death at chosen points along the route from Westminster to St Paul's were circulating online yesterday.

A spokesman for Scotland Yard, said: "If it is necessary to prevent crime, arrests would be made."

Organisers of a Facebook campaign to highlight the "turn your back" protest said that the demonstration was approved by police.

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