London tower block fire protesters storm town hall

Saturday 17 June 2017 7 days ago 30   London    Print

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Report  Web desk : LONDON:Shouting "Killers!" and we want justice, dozens of people stormed the town hall in London s richest borough on Friday, accusing the authorities of ignoring the plight of the victims of the Grenfell Tower block blaze. Three days after fire ripped through the 24-storey block, killing at least 30 people, residents are desperate for answers and for the bodies of their loved ones, many of which are still inside. During an angry protest outside the headquarters of the offices of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, which manages the social housing block, a group broke off and scuffled with security guards in the lobby of the red-brick building. Shame on you!, they shouted in a stand-off involving around 30 people, as many police officers, as well as a dozen security guards. Hundreds of people, including singer and human rights campaigner Lily Allen, were protesting outside, holding up signs saying Justice for Grenfell. One protester held up a "Wanted" poster for an executive who manages the building, accusing him of corporate manslaughter. It is criminal to wrap homes in flammable plastic, read another sign after it emerged that cladding installed on the exterior walls as part of a recent refurbishment was not fire-resistant. Residents had long complained about fire safety risks at Grenfell Tower, but said the concerns of the multi-ethnic, largely working-class inhabitants had been brushed off by local authorities. We are in the richest borough in the UK and in this very borough we have a building where some of the poorest live and the safety measures are totally inadequate, said Mustafa Al Mansur, one of the organisers of the demonstration. We need to know what commitment the council is taking to ensure this tragedy is not repeated, he said. We need to know exactly the number of people who were there during this tragedy. There were chaotic scenes as angry protesters shouted through a loudspeaker, with one woman saying: We are in pain. We have been trodden on by people who say they are there to protect us. Another said: It was a death trap and they knew it. The protesters also held up pictures of those still missing and now feared dead, as the crowd shouted: No justice, no peace! We are not here to trouble people. We just want answers, said Salwa Buamani, 25, who attended the protest with her three-year-old niece on her shoulders. I have friends in the tower and they are not telling us anything, she told, adding. We can not respect the bodies." The death toll was revised up Friday from 17 to 30, but police warned they expect it to increase further, with as many as 70 people thought to still be missing. (01)