Admirers mourn Margaret Thatcher as opponents party after
People gather during a ‘party’ to celebrate the death of former British Prime Minister Thatcher in London. AFP photoAdmirers of Margaret Thatcher mourned the “Iron Lady” who as Britain’s longest serving prime minister in over a century pitched free-market capitalism as the only medicine for her country’s crippled economy and the crumbling Soviet bloc.
World leaders past and present, from Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to U.S. President Barack Obama, led tributes the grocer’s daughter who sought to arrest Britain’s decline and helped Ronald Reagan broker an end to the Cold War.While world leaders praised the most powerful British prime minister since her hero Winston Churchill, the scars of bitter struggles during her rule left Britain divided over her legacy.
Opponents celebrated in south London and the Scottish city of Glasgow, cheering her death.
Holding placards saying “Rejoice - Thatcher is dead”, around 200 people gathered in the neighborhood, a hotspot of alternative culture, and toasted her passing by drinking and dancing. “I’m very, very pleased. She did so much damage to this country,” said one man brandishing an original newspaper billboard from 1990 announcing Thatcher’s resignation. Others scrawled “Good Riddance” on the pavement. In Scotland’s biggest city Glasgow more than 300 people gathered to hold their own celebration. Anti-capitalist campaigners shouted, “Maggie, Maggie, Maggie” as the crowd replied “dead, dead, dead.”
Thatcher crushed trade unions, privatized swathes of British industry, clashed with European allies and fought a war to recover the Falkland Islands from Argentina. Yesterday’s newspapers told the story: “The Woman Who Saved Britain,” declared the Daily Mail while the Daily Mirror, lead on “The Woman Who Divided A Nation” in an article which questioned the grand, ceremonial funeral planned for next week.