Friday, 12 April 2013

Margaret Thatcher through the years

Anyone who is in London when Margaret Thatcher's funeral takes place next Wednesday can expect it to "look very different" as a huge security operation swings into action, police said Friday. Roads and Underground stations will be closed, police officers will be out in force, and members of the armed forces will line the route that the cortege will follow from Westminster to St. Paul's Cathedral. With Queen Elizabeth II and many other dignitaries among the more than 2,000 guests, the "ceremonial"-style funeral for Britain's first female prime minister was bound to be a security headache. The threat of possible demonstrations by anarchists and fears that dissident Irish Republicans may try to act have heightened concerns. Thatcher was the target of a hotel bombing in Brighton by the Irish Republican Army in 1984, and two of her close colleagues were killed in attacks. Was Thatcher an inspiration to women? Blair on Thatcher: "A towering figure" Was Thatcher an inspiration to women? Does Thatcher deserve a state funeral? Her political legacy remains highly divisive, in part because many people blame her for creating soaring unemployment as she reduced or eliminated many government subsidies to businesses and took on unions. Police were called out Monday in London's Brixton neighborhood, as well as in Bristol and Glasgow, after people gathered to "celebrate" the news of her death. Anarchist groups are reportedly planning a big "party" Saturday in Trafalgar Square. The square, in the heart of London, was the scene of rioting in 1990 against a hugely unpopular levy brought in by Thatcher, the poll tax. Reflecting the anger she still provokes among some people, sales of the "Wizard of Oz" song "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead" have skyrocketed this week. A Facebook campaign is encouraging people to buy the track to celebrate the prime minister's death.

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