London Grenfell Tower scandal, mourning, resistance


This 16 June 2017 video from London, England says about itself:

Protesters Storm Kensington Town Hall, Demand Answers About Grenfell Tower Tragedy

By Steve Sweeney in Britain:

GRENFELL FIRE IS OUT, BUT KENSINGTON IS A POWDER KEG

Saturday 17th June 2017

Council besieged by rally demanding answers and action – not another endless, toothless inquiry

HUNDREDS of angry residents stormed council offices yesterday as they demanded support, housing and answers over the Grenfell Tower disaster amid accusations of “mass murder.”

They had gathered outside the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea civic centre and entered the building in order to stage a sit-down protest but council leaders refused to meet them.

Council bosses were accused of “skulking out” to avoid crowds as they left by a side door while police riot vans and helicopters circled.

Residents held placards demanding “Justice for Grenfell” and chanted “come downstairs” as they presented a list of immediate demands to the council.

And they called for a public inquest, arguing that a planned inquiry was not good enough.

Residents demanded a separate independent investigation into the £9.7 million refurbishment which covered the building with cladding that many believe helped the deadly fire to spread.

Demonstration organiser Mustafa Almansur told those gathered that he had met with a council rep, who confirmed that council bosses would not meet with those outside.

He said: “We took our demands to the council and we expected a response from the chief executive who has failed to turn up.”

He said a written response had been offered.

“We demanded that the council makes a written commitment on immediate rehousing for the victims of Grenfell Tower and for them to be rehoused in the borough,” Mr Almansur said.

“They responded by saying they would rehouse people ‘as locally as we can but we may need help from neighbours’.”

Anger spilled over as those gathered could be heard shouting: “What about the empty houses?”

Kensington and Chelsea has the highest number of empty properties in London with 1,399 vacant worth an estimated £664 million.

Critics have said that it is because of the empty properties that people will be forced outside of the local area.

And chants of “not 17” were heard as residents demanded answers from the council on the real number of people who have died in the tower block.

“They told me that this is not a matter for the council but for the coroner, the police and others,” the crowd were told.

The latest official figures confirmed that at least 30 people have died in the fire at the west London tower block. The Metropolitan Police said that this number is likely to rise.

However rumours have been circulating that the official death toll is much higher amid accusations of a cover-up by the authorities.

Grime artist Saskilla told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire Show that he had been told by a firefighter that 200 bodies had been found in the building.

He said that “the government are doing nothing … and we’ve had enough of it.”

“This is a mass murder.”

Pop star Lily Allen

whose then account has meanwhile been censored by Twitter, update November 2017. Her new Twitter account is here.

— who addressed the demonstration — had a planned appearance on Newsnight cancelled after she challenged the official narrative in a live BBC interview on Thursday.

Ms Allen said: “Once the people’s hope turns to anger they’ve got a real problem on their hands.”

Anger was directed at Tory council leader Nick Paget-Brown, who had earlier blamed Grenfell residents for not wanting the disruption of having sprinkler systems fitted.

Architect and fire safety expert Sam Webb called the fire “a disaster waiting to happen” and “entirely predictable.”

He said: “If there had been a sprinkler system in this building there wouldn’t have been a fire when the fire brigade got there because it would have been contained in the room [where] it started.”

Residents insisted that they were not going to leave until their demands were met as the Star went to press last night. Further protests are expected over the coming week.

As the Star went to press Theresa May pledged a £5 million fund for emergency supplies. When protesters heard the news, they responded: “It’s not enough, we’ve basically raised that much online already.”

Ms May made an unwanted return to Grenfell yesterday, having previously swerved meeting the public during a tour of the site.

This time she was met with cries of “coward” and “shame on you” as she met a small group of victims, residents and volunteers inside a church, with police called on to keep a large crowd outside at bay.

This 16 June 2017 video from London, England says about itself:

Protesters Angry at Grenfell Tower Tragedy Confront Theresa May Outside Downing St Residence

Demonstrators against Grenfell Tower scandal, AFP photo

By Felicity Collier in Britain:

Refurbishment firm dodged millions in tax

Saturday 17th June 2017

ONE of the firms which carried out refurbishment work on Grenfell Tower has dodged millions of pounds in tax, it was revealed yesterday.

Companies House documents show that Harley Wall Ltd, which undertook some of the cladding work on the outside of the tower block in May last year, stashed away nearly £2.5 million in tax avoidance schemes before going bust in August.

This included £981,000 being put into an “employment benefit trust,” and £1.5m into a “business benefit trust.”

Concerns have been widely raised about the fire risk posed by the cladding used by Harley Facades Limited — which owned Harley Wall Ltd — and contractor Rydon, when they refurbished Grenfell.

This includes a parliamentary report from 2000, released after a deadly fire in a tower block in south London, which said that cladding should be fireproof.

Harley Facades managing director Ray Bailey said: “At this time, we are not aware of any link between the fire and the exterior cladding to the tower.”

The Daily Mirror reported that the firm still owed £764,000 after completing the £3m refurb.

Mr Bailey lives in a £900,000 home in Crowborough, East Sussex, the paper reported.

The company also refurbished the Chalcot Estate in Swiss Cottage, north-west London, in a similar way to Grenfell Tower, according to news site Construction Enquirer.

According to reports by Construction News magazine, Leadbitter was initially preferred contractor for the works at Grenfell, but Rydon offered a cheaper deal to Kensington and Chelsea Council.

From the Conservative Daily Mail: The luxurious lifestyle of the cladding firm couple: Boss who sold materials which covered deadly tower block lives with his secretary wife in a £1 million mansion: here.

Same ‘unsafe’ cladding installed on other London towers. LONDON councils are urgently checking the safety of local tower blocks to ensure they’re not susceptible to the same devastation as Grenfell Tower. Council chiefs in Camden, Newham, Croydon and Redbridge all said they were carrying out safety checks: here.

Another video from London, England which used to be on YouTube used to say about itself:

16 June 2017

A FURIOUS caller has said he plans to switch from the Conservative Party to Labour after the Grenfell Tower disaster.

The upset voter also called for the minister responsible to be sacked following the Grenfell Tower blaze.

Speaking on Nigel Farage’s LBC show, the caller announced that he may switch his vote from Tory to Labour because of the tragedy.

He said: “So what do we do, do we actually launch a full-scale inquiry? That’s going to take ten years and cause people complete pain and heartache over that period of time at the cost of £30million.

“Or do we sack the minister who is currently responsible, sat on his hands, who sat on this report, done absolutely nothing.

“And take the risk that he may sue for a smaller amount than that.

“Do you know what I would do to appease the people, and I am not by any stretch of the imagination sort of a Labour voter, I am a traditional Tory voter.

“I am thinking of seriously switching my vote. This is unbelievable.”

Prime Minister Theresa May visited the scene on Thursday morning after promising a “proper investigation” amid growing concerns about how the fire could have spread so rapidly.

After leaving she announced a public inquiry will take place into what happened.

The caller insisted that the minister responsible for delaying a tower block fire safety review, during his time as housing minister should be held to account.

Gavin Barwell, the former housing minister, who was recently appointed as Mrs May’s chief of staff after losing his seat in the recent General Election, faced questions following the Grenfell Tower blaze.

The caller insisted the minister should “fall on his sword” after no decision had been made on the report for years.

He said: “Do not dust this into the long grass. There are parents who have thrown their children out of a tower block while they have burnt.

“These people should be falling on their sword Nigel, right. This is what you do in public office.

“If you get things badly wrong where lives are lost, you fall on your sword, you don’t clutch at every opportunity of power.

“This guy lost his job in Croydon. He has gone into a position of Government.

“Fall on your sword, remove yourself, appease some of the people, that’s the start and then we can look at the issues following that.

“Otherwise there are going to be serious serious problems in this country and I will join any group who wants to go out and protest against this, even being a non-traditional voter in this way because this is just unbelievable.”

A 16 June 2017 video from London, England which used to be on YouTube used to say about itself:

Gavin Barwell Tells Reporters He Is Too Afraid To Comment on the Grenfell Tower Tradegy

Former Housing Minister and newly appointed Chief of Staff to Theresa May, Gavin Barwell has told reporters ‘I can’t comment, I’m too afraid’ answer question about the Grenfell Tower tragedy or to explain why he refused to release an official report outlining dafety dangers at the Grenfell Tower and other social housing projects.

This 19 June 2017 video from London, England says about itself:

Grenfell Tower PAPERING OVER POVERTY with Jonathan Pie

Full length version of Jonathan Pie explaining the Tories’ approach to social housing.

By Lamiat Sabin, in Ladbroke Grove, London:

Resident lucky to be alive after harrowing experience

Saturday 17th June 2017

Zoe Dee gives Star eyewitness account

A RESIDENT of Grenfell Tower told the Star yesterday that she’s lucky to be alive after a neighbour banged on her door to wake up because communal fire alarms could not be heard.

Zoe Dee, who has lived in the tower for almost 30 years, praised her next door neighbour and old school friend Mahad Egal for waking her and her boyfriend out of their deep sleep.

The fire broke out just after 1am on Tuesday and spread through 24 floors of the council block within 15 minutes. So far, 30 people are confirmed dead with the actual death toll rumoured to be over 100.

Ms Dee, who lived on the fourth floor — where the fire had started in another flat — said: “I stayed inside because that’s what we were told to do, but I phoned another of my neighbours who was outside and she said you’ve got to get out.

“I opened the front door to see two to three firemen struggling to get the dry riser box open. It had no water. None of the communal smoke alarms were going off.

“I grabbed my phone, trainers and keys. When I went back to the door there was a thick black cloud of smoke that triggered the smoke alarm in my flat.”

After fleeing the building, they saw flames spreading, windows popping and cladding melting. Fireballs of debris set fire to nearby trees.
They were told by police to move further and further back in fear of being hit by burning fragments.

She said: “We were outside watching it being completely covered in flames while people were at their windows flicking lights for attention.
“People outside were on the floor screaming and crying about their relatives inside.

“When it started to spread to the middle, I remember seeing my neighbour on a bench shaking and screaming.

“I am trying to process it but I’ve been keeping myself busy sorting out practicalities. At times I have been crying uncontrollably. I’m also very very angry about the council’s failings that lead to so many people dying and being displaced.

“We are demanding to not be moved out of the borough. Kensington and Chelsea Council should put us up in the empty houses if there is nowhere else. We refuse to be moved out.”

This 15 June 2017 video from London, England says about itself:

Grenfell Tower Fire Eye Witness Amina Sharif, Spokesperson Of The Grenfell Tower FIRE

Tory [Conservative] Council Leader Nicholas Paget-Brown of the Chelsea and Kensington Council, owners and managers of the Grenfell Tower, has attempted to shift blame away from the council and onto dead residents who can not defend themselves: here.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Hospital complains over Sun hack’s impersonation

Saturday 17th June 2017

A LONDON hospital will lodge a formal complaint after a Sun journalist allegedly impersonated a Grenfell Tower victim’s relative yesterday to secure an interview.

King’s College hospital announced it will complain to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) about the incident and has already written to Sun publisher News UK.

It is alleged that a reporter from the newspaper set up an interview with Grenfell Tower resident Mario Gomes after contacting him on his mobile phone.

However, a different journalist from the newspaper is reported to have approached hospital staff asking to speak to Mr Gomes, who declined the interview as the reporter allegedly claimed to be a relative.

This 16 June 2017 video from London, England says about itself:

Theresa May shows a lack of leadership and should resign

Theresa May avoids survivors and her government takes no action in wake of lethal tower fire: here.

This 16 June 2017 video from London, England says about itself:

Justice for Grenfell Tower. Demo at Kensington council

15 thoughts on “London Grenfell Tower scandal, mourning, resistance

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