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Protests as anger grows over Grenfell Tower fire

17 June 2017 National News


Anger over the Grenfell Tower disaster has spilled onto the streets, with protesters demanding justice for the victims and voicing their frustration over the handling of the crisis.

Dozens of demonstrators on Friday afternoon holding placards and shouting “we want an inquest” and “we want justice”.

Several people appeared to clash with security guards inside the building before more than 20 police officers restored order.

Image: Police confront protesters outside the town hall

Protest organiser Mustafa Mansour read out a list of requests submitted to Royal Chelsea and Kensington Borough, including a commitment for the “immediate rehousing of all the victims… within the borough”.

Hundreds of protesters also marched on Whitehall, with some chanting “May must go”, bringing parts of London to a standstill.

The crowd then began marching towards Kensington High Street.

“We need answers and we need answers now,” a man said through a megaphone. “This should not be happening in the United Kingdom, this should never happen.”

The PM leaves St Clement's Church in west London under police escort

Image: The PM leaves St Clement’s Church in west London under police escort

Prime Minister Theresa May was confronted by angry crowds as she returned to the site of the fire in west London after being in the wake of the tragedy.

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Mrs May met a group of victims, residents, volunteers and community leaders at St Clement’s Church near the scene of the blaze, but she declined to speak to anyone outside the building.

She faced cries of “coward” and “shame on you” as she left under heavy police escort, and police broke up a scuffle among the crowd as her car drove off.

The PM had earlier visited Chelsea and Westminster Hospital to meet staff and patients who were caught up in the fire.

The Prime Minister insists that all necessary action will be taken over how to deal with the Grenfell Tower fire

Video: ‘If action needs to be taken, we will take it’

In an interview, Mrs May was questioned over whether there was a need for the Government to accept some responsibility for what had happened.

“Something terrible has happened,” she answered.

“This is an absolutely awful fire that took place. People have lost their lives, people have had their homes destroyed, they have fled for their lives with absolutely nothing.”

Asked if she had misread the public anger, she replied: “What I have done since this incident took place is, first of all, yesterday ensure that the public services had the support they need in order to be able to do the job they were doing in the immediate aftermath.”

Hundreds of people joined a vigil outside Latymer Church

Image: Hundreds of people joined a vigil outside Latymer Christian Centre

Hundreds of mourners stood arm in arm at a vigil on Friday night outside the Latymer Christian Centre, which has become the hub of a relief effort, co-ordinating aid and providing support for those displaced.

Many wept as they joined in with renditions of Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds and Amazing Grace during a short service which ended with a two-minute silence.

Firefighter Damien Magee recounts what he experienced while attending the fire at Grenfell Tower

Video: Firefighter describes what he saw at Grenfell Tower

Police say that at least 30 people are now confirmed dead, but Sky News understands the number of missing – feared dead – is around 70.

Metropolitan Police commander Stuart Cundy said the tower remained “in a very hazardous state” but there was “nothing to suggest at this time that the fire was started deliberately”.

Mr Cundy vowed police “will get to the answer of what has happened and why”, adding: “If criminal offences have been committed it is us who will investigate that.”

The Queen meets residents and volunteers in West London following Grenfell Tower fire

Video: Queen visits fire victims, witnesses and volunteers

for emergency supplies, food and clothing for victims.

Kensington and Chelsea Council said 110 households had been given temporary accommodation by Friday morning, and added that it was working to find more permanent homes.

But the authority’s latest statement said: “While we will try do our utmost to ensure those affected remain in or near the borough, given the number of households involved, it is possible the council will have to explore housing options that may become available in other parts of the capital.”


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