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Protesters Spatter Her Car : Thatcher at the Games: Main Event Was Egg Toss

August 01, 1986|From Reuters

EDINBURGH, Scotland — Anti-apartheid protesters spattered the car of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher with eggs and tomatoes today after sirens howled out a false alarm of an imminent nuclear attack on the city during a visit by Queen Elizabeth II.

The sirens frightened many of the half a million people in Greater Edinburgh. More than 200 terrified people phoned police within 10 minutes, a police spokesman said.

A spokesman at Holyrood Palace, where the queen is staying while she attends the Commonwealth Games, said none of the palace residents--Thatcher among them--reacted to the alarm.

"The queen was not unduly alarmed and things carried on as normal," the spokesman said.

Later, a car carrying Thatcher into the Commonwealth Games stadium was spattered with eggs and tomatoes as about 500 people protested her policy toward South Africa.

The demonstrators chanted, "Free Nelson Mandela" and "Black blood on Thatcher's hands" as her car drove past. Inside the stadium, both boos and cheers went up.

Earlier in the day, many athletes refused to leave their quarters when she made a two-hour visit to the games village.

"No one wants to meet her," Canadian high jumper Nathaniel Crooks told reporters. "Her attitude towards sanctions has wrecked the Commonwealth Games."

Thatcher told an English rower who did show up during her visit that it was "a great shame" that individual athletes from the 32 countries boycotting the sporting event had been unable to decide for themselves whether to participate.

Edinburgh's City Council, dominated by the opposition Labor Party, had asked Thatcher to stay away from the games because of her position on sanctions.

The city's mayor, Dr. John Mackay, last week wrote to Thatcher saying he would be unable to give her a civic welcome.

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