Within a couple of hours of installing the statue of Former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in her home town Grantham, on Sunday, protestors were spotted throwing eggs at the monument.
There were rumours circling around that such an incident may become inevitable. Predicting protests and likely vandalism, the bronze statue was, without ceremony, placed on a 3m (10ft) high plinth to prevent any damage, reports The Guardian.
None from Grantham raised their eye brows when locals started throwing eggs at the controversial figure. While there were people taking selfies, swollen with pride toward her, the town echoed with loud booing from passersby in contempt.
"The statue was a fitting tribute to a unique political figure," said Councillor Kelham Cooke, conservative leader of South Kesteven council.
"Margaret Thatcher will always be a significant part of Grantham's heritage," he said. "She and her family have close ties with Grantham. She was born, raised and went to school here."
He added, "It is, therefore, appropriate that she is commemorated by her home town, and that the debate that surrounds her legacy takes place here in Grantham. We must never hide from our history, and this memorial will be a talking point for generations to come.
"We hope that this memorial will encourage others to visit Grantham and to see where she lived and visit the exhibition of her life in Grantham Museum.
"This is about inspiring, educating and informing people about someone who represents a significant part of Grantham's heritage."
The statue, made by sculptor Graham Jennings, was originally intended to stand close to parliament but it was rejected by Westminster Council in 2018. Councillors said it was too soon after her death, in 2013.
They would also have been aware of the attack in 2002 on the marble statue of Thatcher in the Guildhall Art Gallery, in London. It was attacked with a cricket bat and decapitated with a metal bar in what a protester called "an act of satirical humour". A court found him guilty of criminal damage and jailed him for three months.
After Westminster's refusal, the statue was offered to Grantham, with work to achieve that spearheaded by Grantham Community Heritage Association (GCHA), an educational charity which manages the museum.
It has been a rocky road. There was horror when it was revealed that a £100,000 unveiling ceremony was being planned. A Facebook group proposed an "egg-throwing contest" which attracted 13,000 expressions of interest.
That event was abandoned and in strikingly low-key fashion the statue was lowered into place on Sunday morning. An official unveiling by the Public Memorials Appeal (PMA), which funded the £300,000 statue through public donations, will, take place at a later date, the council said.
Graham Jeal, a trustee of GCHA, said there had been a long conversation in Grantham about having a permanent memorial to Thatcher.
"The delivery of the memorial has secured the museum for the next few years and has helped the museum finances survive the Covid pandemic," he said. "It is recognised that the full spectrum of views exist in Grantham about the legacy of Margaret Thatcher and an exhibition inside the museum illustrates this."
The statue has been placed in St Peter's Hill Green, close to the museum and the site of the grocer's shop owned by Thatcher's family.