In the wake of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher’s death on Monday, police are asking groups who are planning to demonstrate her funeral to come forward in order to guarantee their rights are protected.
The Belfast Telegraph reports that the Metropolitan Police in the UK are asking potential demonstrators to make themselves known so that their "right to protest can be upheld.”
Some, however, are wary of informing the police, says the Belfast Telegraph, citing that they should not need police authorization to demonstrate.
The request from the police comes amid rumors that taxpayers will have to foot the majority of the estimated £8m-to-£10m bill for Thatcher’s state funeral in London. Thatcher’s estate will contribute to some of the costs.
In hopes of keeping unrest at bay, the final cost of Thatcher’s funeral won’t be released until after the ceremonies.
Demonstrations of all kinds are expected to be held in the run up to and the day of Thatcher’s funeral on Wednesday. The Belfast Telegraph writes that “Suggestions have ranged from anarchist groups promoting violent demonstrations and direct action to more sober offerings such as silent vigils or wearing a single colour in protest at Mrs Thatcher's divisive legacy. A separate call has gone out to hold a mass party and protest in Trafalgar Square this Saturday at 6pm.”
While police in Northern Ireland are believed to be confident that dissident republican groups there would not be able to carry out an attack on mainland Britain, the Metropolitan Police have been in touch with the PSNI.
Scotland Yard is also preparing for potential disruptions to the ceremonies. While there is a small team focused on the potential threat of loners and individuals causing a disruption, they are more focused on larger political protests that could occur.
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