Margaret Thatcher funeral: police scan social media for protesters
Police are monitoring social media sites to seek out any potential troublemakers ahead of Margaret Thatcher’s funeral next week, for fear it could be targeted by protesters.
According to the Independent, police are concerned the funeral could turn into a security nightmare after Thatcher ‘death parties’ erupted across the country.
Due to take place next Wednesday at St Paul’s Cathedral, the funeral will be attended by the Queen. It will be the first time she has attended the funeral service of a former prime minister since Sir Winston Churchill's state ceremony in 1965.
Officers are likely to line the procession route from the Houses of Parliament to the cathedral, and police could make pre-emptive arrests to prevent protesters from disrupting the ceremony for Britain’s first female prime minister, who died on Monday aged 87.
The controversial tactic was employed before the Royal Wedding in 2011 - scores of people were detained in its run-up.
Three forces will be working on the funeral's security, police have confirmed.
A Met spokesman said: “London's police, the MPS, City of London and British Transport Police are working together to deliver a security operation for Baroness Thatcher's funeral.
“Given the nature of the event, our operation will use of a range of appropriate tactics.”
Police concerns have been fuelled by the spate of parties ‘celebrating’ Thatcher’s death, held in Bristol, Leeds, Brixton, Glasgow, Liverpool and Derry.
Violence erupted at a number of the gatherings. Several people including six police officers were injured in Bristol on Monday night, at a party which attracted a crowd of around 200.
Officers were pelted with bottles as the gathering in Chelsea Road turned into a riot. Protesters have warned they will return.
Lady Thatcher will receive a ceremonial funeral with military honours, similar to those held for the Queen Mother and Princess Diana.
A ceremonial funeral is one rung down from a state funeral - normally reserved for monarchs - and requires the consent of the Queen.
David Cameron and Nick Clegg will be among about 2,500 guests at the funeral. Number 10 is expected to begin releasing details of the guest list later today.
Cameron will also lead tributes to Thatcher in a specially-convened session of Parliament.
Lady Thatcher, a Conservative, was the UK's first female prime minister. She was in office from 1979 to 1990.
She earned fans and enemies in equal measure. Her followers say she transformed the British economy for the better and was a formidable rival on the international stage, while others refuse to forgive the ‘milk snatcher’ whose tough economic stance put millions out of work.
Lady Thatcher died “peacefully” after suffering a stroke while staying at the Ritz hotel in central London.