Parkinson: Funeral protests 'would be a pity'

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Media captionBaron Cecil Parkinson and Baroness Helena Kennedy spoke of their hope that demonstrations held during Baroness Thatcher's funeral be "respectful"

One of Baroness Thatcher's closest aides has urged people who want to show their "disapproval" of the former prime minister at her funeral to do so in an "agreeable way".

The ceremony takes place on Wednesday, with some protests expected during the procession to St Paul's Cathedral.

Former Conservative Party chairman Lord Parkinson told the BBC people were "free to demonstrate".

But he added that it would be a "pity" if they chose to do so.

Hundreds of people took part in a demonstration condemning Lady Thatcher in Trafalgar Square, London, on Saturday. Sixteen arrests were made, eight of them for drunk and disorderly behaviour.

Protesters danced and sang around a large effigy of the late prime minister and chanted slogans.

'Strong'

Lady Thatcher died last Monday, aged 87, and her funeral service will be preceded by a procession from Westminster to St Paul's.

Dignitaries from around the world will attend, with military personnel lining the route. Police have prepared for some protests.

Lord Parkinson, who also served as energy secretary and trade secretary in Lady Thatcher's cabinet, told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show: "I don't think it would have upset her. When you are as strong a character as she was, you don't disapprove of divisions."

He added: "One of the joys of being British is that we are free to demonstrate."

But he said: "If people feel hostile and want to demonstrate, it's a pity."

Lord Parkinson said he hoped people, "if they express their disapproval, will do it in an agreeable way".

The Dean of St Paul's, Very Reverend Dr David Ison, said: "I hope that people will remember this is about a human being who's facing death."

He added that Lady Thatcher was "not some kind of monster or a witch but was actually a human being doing what she believed to be right and we can respect that even though we may not agree with her politics".

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude, who is helping to organise the ceremony, told Sky News it would be a "fitting" tribute for a "very, very great lady".

He asked protesters to be respectful, adding: "Remember, there are hundreds of millions of people around the world who will enjoy the same freedom because of her."

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Westminster

  • The funeral procession will set out from the Palace of Westminster with Baroness Thatcher's body carried in a hearse for the first part of the journey. The coffin will be trasferred to a gun carriage at the church of St Clement Danes on the Strand.

  • Baroness Thatcher's body will lie overnight in the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft which is found beneath St Stephen's Hall at the Palace of Westminster.

St Clement Danes

St Clement Danes

At the RAF Chapel at the church of St Clement Danes on the Strand, Baroness Thatcher's coffin will be borne in procession to St Paul's Cathedral on a gun carriage drawn by six horses of the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery.

St Paul's Cathedral

  • There will be a Guard of Honour outside St Paul's as the coffin is transferred into the Cathedral by service personnel from regiments and ships closely associated with the Falklands campaign.

  • The ceremony in St Paul's Cathedral will be attended by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, family and friends of Baroness Thatcher, members of her cabinets and dignitaries from around the world.

Downing Street

  • The funeral passes Downing Street, which is found on the left of the route along Whitehall.

  • Baroness Thatcher was resident at Number 10 for more than ten years following her General Election victory in 1979.

Ceremonial procession

Once the procession leaves St Clement Danes, the route to St Paul's along Fleet Street and Ludgate Hill will be lined by more than 700 armed forces personnel from the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, F Company Scots Guards, 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, and the Royal Air Force.

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