Tuesday 22 August 2017

Hundreds take to the streets for 'Day of Rage' Grenfell protest

A woman shouts at a police officer during the protest in London. Photo: Getty
A woman shouts at a police officer during the protest in London. Photo: Getty

Jack Hardy

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of London for a 'Day of Rage' amid accusations organisers hijacked the Grenfell Tower disaster for political purposes.

The demonstration, started by Movement For Justice By Any Means Necessary (MFJ), was billed as a day of action for the victims of the inferno.

A man is arrested by police as protesters gather in Parliament Square after marching through central London yesterday. Photo: Getty
A man is arrested by police as protesters gather in Parliament Square after marching through central London yesterday. Photo: Getty

Coinciding with the Queen's Speech, police said 500 people joined the march, which aimed, according to the event page, to "bring down the Government".

Several people appeared to be detained by police as tempers flared in Whitehall near Downing Street with protesters and police squaring off as activists yelled angrily.

One man was restrained as he screamed in the face of an officer and another male protester was pinned to the floor by police.

As he was being carried away he repeatedly shouted he was a "peaceful" protester, while those watching chanted: "Let him go."

A protester holds up a sign asking for ‘Justice for Grenfell’ following the deadly fire at Grenfell Tower. Photo: Getty
A protester holds up a sign asking for ‘Justice for Grenfell’ following the deadly fire at Grenfell Tower. Photo: Getty

Another skirmish with police resulted in a man being led away in handcuffs, having been seen shouting at the protesters.

Pockets of the demonstration then began bickering among themselves in Parliament Square, while another section listened to speeches attentively.

Throughout the afternoon, "Justice for Grenfell" was yelled by the crowd, with many brandishing signs bearing the slogan.

Karen Doyle, from the Movement for Justice, promised further action, saying outside Downing Street: "I believe that we can have double, triple, quadruple the number on this demonstration on the streets."

Protesters hold up placards. Photo: Getty Images
Protesters hold up placards. Photo: Getty Images

The ClementJames Centre, which has been helping those displaced by the fire, earlier shunned the movement as opportunistic.

"We cannot emphasise enough how against this many of the affected residents we've spoken to are and they do not want their grief hijacked for any violent or destructive means," a spokesman said.

Meanwhile, brand-new flats in a Kensington High Street development have been bought for those who lost their homes in the blaze, according to the 'Evening Standard'.

Penthouses in the development are expected to go for £13m (€14.8m), and flats in the building are expected to be purchased to permanently house Grenfell families.

The Berkeley Group has confirmed flats in the building are in the process of being sold for former Grenfell residents.

The City of London Corporation is acquiring the 68 flats as part of the response to the tragedy. A spokesman told the 'Evening Standard': "We are ready to do everything we can to help the victims of the terrible fire at Grenfell Tower."

The deal was brokered by the Homes and Communities Agency on behalf of the government.

As well as other luxury amenities, the block features a 24-hour concierge service and a gym.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said: "Our priority is to get everyone who has lost their home permanently rehoused locally as soon as possible, so that they can begin to rebuild their lives."

This move comes after Jeremy Corbyn asked for empty luxury homes in the area to be requisitioned and given to the victims.

Irish Independent

Editors Choice

Also in World News