London pubs on weekend riot alert ahead of Margaret Thatcher funeral

By Helen Gilbert

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Trafalgar square

Margaret Thatcher funeral: London pubs on weekend riot alert
London pubs have been urged to prepare for potential disorder this weekend in light of reports that anarchists are plotting to ‘re-enact’ the poll tax riots ahead of Lady Margaret Thatcher’s funeral next week.

Aiden Kinsella, general manager of the Clarence, Whitehall who will open for business as usual on the day of the procession, told the Publican's Morning Advertiser that he had received a visit from police officers who warned him of potential riots in Trafalgar Square this Saturday.

“The visit was about this Saturday,” he said. “We’re expecting a riot in Trafalgar Square, the police are switched onto that. I’ve got to remove [outdoor] furniture Saturday night.”

Other pubs near the procession route have also received visits from the Metropolitan Police this week ahead of the former prime minister’s ceremonial funeral, which will take place with full military honours at St Paul’s Cathedral in London on Wednesday 17 April.

“The Met Police came and said to keep all our furniture inside,” said Reuben Leigh, manager of the Coal Hole, Westminster. “We’ve only got two tables and five chairs, heavy wooden chairs. They don’t know what’s going to happen. They said we could put them out after 12pm but we’ll probably bring them in for the day. We’ll be trading normally.”

Sunnil Panjabi, licensee at the Punch Tavern, Fleet Street, added: “The police are very good round here. Last year we had jubilee celebrations and [the advice] is no different to what they gave for that. We’re not allowed to put tables on the pavement.”

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said:  “We’re aware of open source information relating to suggested protests over this weekend. We will have a policing operation in place as appropriate. All information will be kept under constant review.”

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