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UK Politics

Hundreds celebrated Margaret Thatcher's death – few had lived through her reign

Many of the people at the Brixton 'death party' were toddlers in the 1980s

It had been talked up for years: some of those who had felt the roughest side of Margaret Thatcher's Britain in the 1980s had openly said they planned to hold a party on her death. But, when it finally came on Monday, the majority of those celebrating in Brixton were not even old enough to remember the Iron Lady's reign.

Around 200 people gathered in Brixton, the scene of some of the worst riots during Margaret Thatcher's tenure as Prime Minister, to celebrate her demise. Two people were arrested as those assembled clashed with police late on Monday night. Some of them had already clambered above the entrance of the Ritzy cinema on Windrush Square to the billboard displaying what was on show inside, rearranging the letters to spell out "Margaret Thatchers Dead, LOL, Oh aye."

Outside the cinema they played music and drank as a party atmosphere in the evening contrasted with the more respectful tone earlier in the day. "Maggie, Maggie, Maggie, Dead, Dead, Dead", the crowd chanted.

Members of the various organisations present included the Anti-Bedroom Tax Federation, the Communist Party, the Socialist Party, the Socialist Working Party, the International Socialist Group – all of whom were joined by members of the public and onlookers to mark the occasion. Saul Adamczewski, 24, from Camberwell, held aloft a banner stating "The bitch is dead".

"We are here for a celebration," he said. "I have never seen such a joyous atmosphere for someone's death. She was so particularly evil and hated by everyone; there are 12-year-olds here.

"I wasn't even alive to witness most of her reign but people are here because of the effects of it. It is the celebration of the end of a tyrant. And Brixton is the right place to do it."

Jonny Middleton (not his real name), 22, unemployed from Essex said: "No one is celebrating the death of a mother or a grandmother. It is an opportunity to all get together and say 'Maggie, you were an awful person' and acknowledge that."

His words were echoed by Tom Johnson, a 25-year-old working in marketing who lived locally: "I don't like to celebrate death but I understand people's emotions about it; I mean she wasn't a nice person. Personally when I think of Thatcher I think of the way she ruined the country, the way she decimated the working-class. I think it's totally justified."

Jonathan Chuter, at 37 one of the few revellers present last night old enough to remember growing up in Thatcher's Britain, added: "I feel very moved by this. This is a huge outpouring of whatever it is, whatever you feel. I think there are a lot of people who have been sold a dream which is broken."