IN FESTA PER LA MORTE DI MARGARET THATCHER
Petrol bombs were thrown at police in Derry amid celebrations held following the death of Baroness Margaret Thatcher – prompting Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness to call on Republicans to urge restraint.
There was a gathering at Free Derry Corner on Monday after news broke that the former Prime Minister had passed away.
Trouble broke out in the area at around 7pm when the missiles were thrown at police. A PSNI spokeswoman said no-one was injured and no damage was caused. Investigations are ongoing.
Graffiti appeared on the gable wall, while lanterns were lit and cars carrying Irish tricolours were driven through the Bogside.
Mr McGuinness, who hails from the city, tweeted on Tuesday morning: “Resist celebrating the death of Margaret Thatcher, she was NOT a Peacemaker but it is a mistake to allow her death to poison our minds.”
Meanwhile, in west Belfast, a crowd assembled on the streets outside the offices of McGuinness’ political party in the Lower Falls on Monday night, where music was played and passing motorists sounded their horns.
DUP MLA Jonathan Bell has described the celebratory scenes as not only disappointing, but deeply inappropriate.
“The response from Sinn Féin and republicans to the death of our former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, whom the IRA sought to murder, was both disappointing and disgusting,” the Strangford MLA said.
“While many will differ on policy, such is the nature of the democratic process, all right thinking people will regard the carnival celebrations following Baroness Thatcher’s death deeply inappropriate.”
At a time of bereavement there should be human compassion for those in mourning.
Strangford DUP MLA Jonathan Bell
Alliance Leader David Ford MLA also criticised the scenes.
“There can never be any justification for the celebration of the death of another human. It is wrong and they should not have taken place.
“While I know many people disagreed with her policies, this is no cause for the scenes we have witnessed,” the Justice Minister added.
It comes amid similar events in Great Britain, including in Glasgow where more than 300 people took part in an impromptu “party” organised via Twitter.
Margaret Thatcher has been remembered as a figure who divided opinion.
The 87-year-old has long been vilified in republican circles, in particular for her handling of the IRA hunger strikes inside the Maze prison in the early 1980s.
She became a top target of the IRA – and the grouping attempted to murder her in the deadly Brighton bomb blast of 1984.
Five people lost their lives when the Tory conference was targeted. Her close colleague Norman Tebbit and his wife were injured.
Paying tribute on Monday, First Minister Peter Robinson described her as one of the greatest political figures of post-war Britain, saying the country is “indebted” to her.
But Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams was scathing in his assessment and accused her of doing “great hurt to the Irish and British people during her time as British prime minister”.
Lady Thatcher’s funeral will be held next Wednesday, Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed.
The former ruler has been granted a ceremonial funeral with full military honours – the same status that was accorded the Queen Mother and Diana, Princess of Wales.
The streets will be cleared for a procession taking her body from parliament to St Paul’s. She will be cremated at a private service afterwards.
There have been calls for Lady Thatcher to be given a state funeral, as wartime leader Winston Churchill was.
However, friends have indicated that she did not want such treatment, and specified that she did not want to lie in state.
Parliament is expected to be suspended for the funeral, meaning the first Prime Minister’s Questions session since the Easter break could be cancelled.