Police injured and arrests made as hundreds ‘celebrated’ death of Margaret Thatcher

Telegraph – by Haley Dixon

In Bristol six officers were injured as they tried to break up a gathering of around 200 people and were pelted with bottles and cans. One officer remains in hospital and one person was arrested for violent disorder.

In Brixton smashed widows and looting of shops was reported as two women were arrested on suspicion of burglary.

More than 100 people gathered in south London suburb – the scene of fierce riots in 1981 just two years into her first time in office. Some scaled the nearby Ritzy Cinema and changed the film listings to read “Margaret Thatchers dead.

Pictures of anti-Thatcher graffiti scrawled on walls in Brixton also appeared on Twitter, with one reading: “You snatched my milk! & our hope” and there were reports of windows being smashed and shops looted.

Some were carrying banners, with one saying: “Rejoice, Thatcher is dead.”

They also opened champagne and cheered, shouting: “Maggie, Maggie, Maggie, dead, dead, dead.” One shouted: “Free milk for all.”

During the “party” a green smoke bomb was held in the air by one member of the crowd and a firework was set off.

Footage shows police in riot helmets tussling with the crowd as several missiles are thrown. Two women were arrested on suspicion of burglary.

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said: “In order to protect the community and ensure the highways remained clear extra officers were deployed.”

There were performances by musicians including a rendition of the tune dubbed the Bedroom Tax Song called You Cannae Have A Spare Room In A Pokey Cooncil Flat by Alan Smart which has received more than 130,000 views on YouTube.

Local councillor Alex Bigham condemned the celebrations as “disgraceful”, adding: “Even if you detested her policies, many of which I did, it is tasteless posturing.”

A crowd of 300 people also assembled in Glasgow’s George Square where in 1989 protests to the introduction of the former prime minister’s poll tax took place.

Some wore party hats and launched streamers into the air while a bottle of champagne was opened with a toast to the demise of Baroness Thatcher.

Members of various organisations including the Anti-Bedroom Tax Federation, the Communist Party, the Socialist Party, the Socialist Working Party, the International Socialist Group, were joined by members of the public to mark the occasion.

Anti-capitalist campaigners shouted from loudspeakers, “Maggie, Maggie, Maggie” as the crowd replied “dead, dead, dead”.

Crowds gathered from 5pm yesterday despite a statement from Glasgow City Council discouraging anyone from attending the event which was organised over social media.

Within minutes of the announcement of the death of the former prime minister a call was made for a demo in Glasgow’s city centre.

Bryan Simpson, 24, who is a member of executive council for Unite the Union created the Facebook event page, Thatcher’s Deed – Party in George Square – Tonight!

More than 1,000 people said they would attend via the social networking site, with a number of people referring to the stroke that killed her as “a stroke of good luck”.

There were four other similar event pages created via Facebook calling people to attend the “death party”.

There has been preparation for the day Margaret Thatcher died for many years. Martin Chomsky, the lead singer of Chomsky Allstars, penned the song So Long Margaret Thatcher a number of years ago.

He performed the song in George Square last night. He said: “There are mixed emotions. I was never brought up to celebrate anyone’s death but the pain she brought to Latin America, Europe and around the world should be remembered.

“I would rather that Thatcherism was dead because she is mostly to blame for what is going on today. She is responsible, but not solely, for the massive gap between the rich and the poor.”

Angela McCormick, a socialist from Glasgow, said: “I’m here for a generation that didn’t have a future when they left school and didn’t have jobs. I’m here for the members of my family who have been devastated by the economic policies or the economic crimes of Margaret Thatcher in the 80s in Glasgow.

“She started with saying ‘it’s all about individuals there’s no such thing as society’ and now Cameron is saying there’s no such thing as welfare. This isn’t nostalgia, this is a fight for our lives and many of us feel fortunate to have survived Thatcherism and we’re telling David Cameron right now, we’ll survive him just like we put an end to Thatcher.”

When asked if she thought it was appropriate to celebrate Baroness Thatcher’s death, Ms McCormick said: “It’s not right and appropriate to wage war on the poor, to channel thousands and millions of pounds into making the rich richer and expect ordinary people to lie down and roll over and put up with it. She was inappropriate, her killing and murder has put blood on her hands and that’s why it’s appropriate to be here today.”

Chief Inspector Mark Jackson, of Avon and Somerset Police, said: “We were called to Chelsea Road, Easton at around 12.30am today.

“Around 200 people had gathered to have a street party and refused police requests to peacefully disperse.

“Bottles and cans were thrown at officers, six of whom suffered injuries. One remains in hospital. A police vehicle was damaged and one person was arrested for violent disorder.

“Some small bin fires were also started and the fire service also attended.”