As reported earlier today by the Inquisitr, tensions have been running high in London as a result of the Grenfell Tower fire, which has killed at least 30 people. The Metropolitan Police announced that over 70 people are still missing, and said that it is unlikely that there will be any more survivors.
Residents of Grenfell Tower are increasingly angry at Theresa May’s government, and the company who managed the building. It has been feared that a protest march in London this evening could spark civil unrest, and even riots, but it appears that protesters have stormed Kensington Town Hall, demanding justice for the Grenfell Tower residents. The Independent stated that hundreds of protesters are carrying a list of demands that they say the authorities must meet.
At present, it is not clear whether the protest has turned violent, but Kensington Town Hall staff were reportedly led to safety through a side entrance. Some reports indicate that scuffles have broken out, but there are no reports of serious injuries. One protester has been arrested.
According to the Evening Standard, hundreds of Grenfell Tower protesters have been gathering outside Kensington Town Hall during the course of the afternoon. The protesters have engaged in chants demanding justice for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire. Many of the protestors have friends, family and neighbors who have died, or are missing, as a result of Wednesday’s horrific fire. Some of the protesters carried placards bearing the photographs of friends or loved ones who have been missing since the fire took hold in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Video footage from the scene shows a largely peaceful protest before protesters, some wearing masks, stormed the building. There are no reports of injuries at present.
The Mirror has reporters at the scene, and is reporting that a huge crowd gathered outside Kensington Town Hall. There were scuffles as protesters forced their way into Kensington Town Hall, accusing those responsible for the fire of being “murderers.” The cause of the Grenfell Tower fire is still unclear, but residents have been claiming since 2009 that the building was unsafe.
BBC TV News is currently reporting that the protesters feel let down by Kensington council, who are responsible for Grenfell Tower. It has been reported that the cladding, added to the outside of Grenfell Tower during a recent refurbishment, was not fireproof. Non-fireproof cladding was allegedly used to save a total of $6,000.
Grenfell Tower did not have a sprinkler system, that could well have saved lives. As reported in the Independent, a number of fires in high-rise blocks in recent years, led to recommendations that such buildings should be fitted with sprinkler systems. It would have cost around $250,000 to fit a sprinkler system in Grenfell Tower, and it is alleged, that the decision not to fit sprinklers was made to save costs.
Theresa May’s government are accused of ignoring the recommendations in several reports, because they were wedded to the politics of austerity. The Grenfell Tower survivors feel that their safety was ignored, to save relatively small sums of money.
Rock Band Enter Shikari Support Calls For Calm At Kensington Town Hall
In the last few moments British rock band Enter Shikari have urged protesters to remain calm. The band, who are fierce critics of Theresa May’s government have been re-tweeting messages to their fans, stating that, “if you riot you risk your liberty and your future.”
If you riot, you risk your liberty & your future; you damage your neighbourhood & you give people an excuse to ignore your plight. Please RT— James O'Brien (@mrjamesob) June 16, 2017
The anger of Grenfell Tower residents is understandable, hundreds of people are now homeless, and no one seems able to tell them how they will be helped. Grenfell Tower sits in Kensington, the richest borough in the United Kingdom. For many, Kensington illustrates the division in the UK’s society. Grenfell Tower residents are among Britain’s poorest families. Their tower block housing sits just streets away from multi-million-pound homes that are owned by the world’s wealthiest people, and they lay empty for much of the year.
There have been calls, for these houses to be occupied to house the Grenfell Tower residents, until suitable new homes can be found.
Reports now indicate that the scene at Kensington Town Hall is now calm, but with tensions running high, it won’t take much to spark major civil unrest on the streets of London.
[Featured Image by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images]