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Anger grows over 'odious' death party celebrations

ANGER is growing over macabre "death parties" celebrating the passing of Margaret Thatcher.

Martin McGuinness  joined the calls for people to show more respect for the former British prime minister. The Sinn Fein MLA urged people to "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," he said.

Within hours of her death being announced, dozens of people took to the streets in cities including Belfast and Derry to celebrate her passing.

Police came under attack as trouble erupted at Free Derry Corner. Petrol bombs and missiles were hurled at officers, however, no one was injured.

Anti-Thatcher graffiti was scrawled on a gable wall, lanterns were lit and cars carrying Irish Tricolours drove through the Bogside.

In Brixton, South London – scene of violent riots in 1981 – people danced the conga, drank champagne and chanted: "Maggie, Maggie, Maggie – dead, dead, dead".

And, in West Belfast horns blared while crowds cheered and waved flags on the Falls Road.

Fresh graffiti appeared on walls, including, "Rot in Hell Maggie Thatcher".

DUP MLA Jonathan Bell said the gloating was "odious".

"The celebration of death is repugnant," he said.

"I think anybody who would celebrate the death of a lady who has died of a stroke while she has two children alive and grandchildren alive and friends and family – right across Northern Ireland people will find the celebration of death odious."

Republicans viewed Mrs Thatcher as the enemy from the start of her premiership in 1979.

Her uncompromising stance over the 1981 hunger strikes turned her into a hate figure for many nationalists.

Last night Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly said he understood people's anger.

"You cannot get away from the fact that Margaret Thatcher had that effect on people," he said.

"You either loved her or you hated her and in terms of what she did with Ireland and what she did with working-class people then you will find that vitriol in life and in death," he added.

Irish Independent