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British street parties 'rejoice' at Thatcher’s death


Text by Tony Todd

Latest update : 2013-04-09

As tributes poured in from world leaders following the death of Britain’s “Iron Lady” Margaret Thatcher, some Britons opened the champagne to celebrate the passing of a woman they said had “ruined millions of lives”.

Impromptu street parties took place across the UK Tuesday to celebrate Monday’s death of former UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher, whose legacy continues to polarise British society.

In Brixton, South London, around 500 vehement critics of the “Iron Lady” held placards reading "Rejoice - Thatcher is dead", drank alcohol and danced to hip-hop and reggae songs from the 1980s.

Other posters, bearing the Socialist Worker newspaper’s masthead, simply proclaimed: “Rejoice! Rejoice!”

The London suburb, which has a high immigrant population, was the scene of two intense periods of rioting in the 1980s while Thatcher was in power.

“The Brixton riots were a result of racism and class discrimination that Thatcher presided over,” Judith Orr, editor of the Socialist Worker newspaper, told FRANCE 24. “Thatcher is still seen by millions of working class people as someone who ruined lives.”

'Glad to see the back of her'

Asked if a street party to celebrate someone’s death was appropriate, she added: “Many people, me included, are glad to see the back of her.”

Brixton resident Estelle Tooch, 23, told FRANCE 24 she attended the party despite being too young to remember the Thatcher years.

“You can still see the damage caused by her policies,” she said. “The level of deprivation that exists here today is a direct result of her legacy."

Police said there was "low level" disorder at the Brixton event, although there were no arrests and no one was injured.

A similar party took place in the Scottish city of Glasgow, while in Bristol, southwest England, six police officers were injured, one seriously, when they tried to break up a party of around 200 people celebrating her death.

Date created : 2013-04-09


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