Trouble flared at Trafalgar Square today after protestors waved an anti-Thatcher banner on the steps of the National Gallery.
Four men unveiled a huge white sign which read: “Our thoughts rest with the victims of Thatcher. No mourning here”.
But the group from the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union and the Communist Party of Britain were confronted by a staunch Thatcherite.
The elderly man, wearing several military medals, said: “It was better when Thatcher was PM. She was my Prime Minister, she wasn’t your Prime Minister.
“If you’re worried about the Tory party now, then why don’t you say so? There’s no use blaming a ghost for your troubles now.
“Nelson Mandela is not remembered for being a terrorist, and neither should Margaret Thatcher.”
One of the group, Darren Ireland, of Liverpool, is a senior member of the RMT Union.
The 42-year-old said: “We’re staging a peaceful protest today, because we want to bring to light the suffering Thatcher caused to many millions of people.
“We want to show the havoc she wreaked on the working classes – there are areas of the country that are still suffering because of her.
“She smashed the trade unions, leaving the workers open to abuse by a system which rewards the rich and punishes the poor.
“Three million people were on the dole because of Thatcher – that’s three million people who could have worked and wanted to work.
“Her economic policy was so skewed in favour of the rich that they could buy flash cars and swimming pools while the poor got poorer.
“We got to the stage where Britain has #144bn deficit and the government aren’t doing enough to reduce that.
“It’s ridiculous. She isn’t a saint, she doesn’t deserve a single penny of public money spent on her any more.”
A protestor was arrested at Trafalgar Square around 5pm yesterday and was led away by half a dozen police.
He was seen talking to officers for a while before being removed for what is thought to have been a public order offence.
A colleague attempted to prevent the police van from leaving by sitting in the road in front of it brandishing a rainbow flag – symbolic of gay pride.
He repeatedly chanted “we all live in a Thatcher state” before being dragged away by other protesters.
A Met police officer at Trafalgar Square confirmed the middle-aged man had been arrested after a brief scuffle.
The officer said: “The gentleman had been asked to get down from one of the lions at the foot of Nelson’s Column, and is alleged to have lashed out at one of the heritage wardens.
“When the two female officers tried to cuff him, he struggled against them, which is why more officers came to help.”