Speeches, etc.

Margaret Thatcher

Remarks following walkabout in Melbourne (IRA demonstration)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: Melbourne, Victoria
Source: BBC Radio News Report 1300 3 August 1988
Journalist: Paul Reynolds, BBC, reporting
Editorial comments:

Between 1710 and 1730. A walkabout planned for the following day in Sydney was cancelled.

Importance ranking: Minor
Word count: 281
Themes: Foreign policy (Australia & NZ), Terrorism, Northern Ireland

The Prime Minister - who's in Melbourne on the latest stage of her Australian tour - faced an angry demonstration during a walkabout in the city centre. The protesters included homosexuals and people opposed to the South African government's policies. But the majority of them were IRA sympathisers. Our Diplomatic correspondent, Paul Reynolds, reports now from Melbourne:


Trouble was brewing for half an hour before Mrs Thatcher arrived with chants and shouts which increased as the Prime Minister stepped from her car. (ACT: CROWD NOISE ... ... FADE) Dozens of demonstrators pressed in and the police suddenly had a potentially threatening situation to deal with. Two Scotland Yard men closed right up to the Prime Minister, one of them shielding her from behind. But the lack of crush barriers and the lack of police numbers meant that at no stage were the demonstrators kept at distance. Denis Thatcher got separated and a huge Australian security man moved behind him and enveloped him in his arms. Mrs Thatcher herself remained entirely composed and thanked those Australians who managed to get through the scrum to greet her. It was only ended when Mrs Thatcher reached her destination, a shop, and police reinforcements arrived to push back the crowd. There were some anxious official faces throughout all this and it was clear that the Melbourne police had failed to prevent Mrs Thatcher from being exposed to possible, though in the end, no real danger. One British official I spoke to afterwards said the police operation had been pathetic. But the Prime Minister reportedly replied to someone who asked if she was afraid, of course not.