TODAY   |  April 14, 2013

Protests, parties after Thatcher’s death

Margaret Thatcher was both loved and loathed, and the polarizing opinions of her have reignited following her death. NBC’s Martin Bashir reports.

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>>> former british prime minister margaret thatcher is proving to be as polarizing in death as she was in life, and her poepts have put a 70-year-old song on the top of the charts, and that's caused a huge dilemma for british broadcasters. nbc's martin bashir is in london with more. martin, good morning.

>> reporter: good morning, lester. that old tradition of never speaking ill of the dead is being largely ignored here in the united kingdom as the nation prepares to bury its longest-serving prime minister of the 20th century , and also its most controversial. margaret thatcher . the iron lady . britain's first and only female prime minister.

>> the lady's not returning.

>> reporter: since her death last monday, britain has been engaged in a battle over the legacy of its former leader.

>> nothing surprises me. she's as divisive in death as she was in life.

>> reporter: in central london , hundreds gathered to shake their fists at thatcherism. the impacts of her policies still roar after two decades.

>> we remember the victims, the victims of margaret thatcher and her society. the witch is dead

>> reporter: even the world of music has been dragged into the battle. an online campaign has put the song " ding dong the witch is dead " up toward the top of the british music charts. after complaints, the bbc decided it will opal play five seconds of the song in today's top ten edition.

>> i believe that buying the whole record, that would be disrespectful.

>> reporter: her children, however, say there's been plenty of support and sympathy for the family.

>> the magnificent tributes this week, the wonderful words of president obama , these have given me strength. this is going to be a tough and tearful week, even for the daughter of the iron lady .

>> reporter: lady thatcher's funeral service , which will be marked by ceremonial grandeur, will take place at st. paul's cathedral on wednesday morning.

>> lady thatcher's ceremony is a ceremonial funeral. it's not the same as winston churchill 's state funeral , but on the same level as princess diana 's and the queen mother.

>> reporter: the funeral service along with the security arrangements is expected to cost around $15 million, and that, too, is a matter of heated debate. lester?

>> martin bashir in london for us this morning. martin, thank