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Thread: London fire: Furious residents enter town hall chanting 'we want justice'

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  1. #1
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    Default London fire: Furious residents enter town hall chanting 'we want justice'

    6/16/2017 London fire: Furious residents descend on town hall - CNN.com

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/16/europe...sit/index.html 1/9


    London fire: Furious residents enter town hall
    chanting 'we want justice'
     Updated 1:06 PM ET, Fri June 16, 2017
    By James Masters, CNN

    Story highlights
    Residents desperate for information protest at
    town hall
    30 people confirmed dead following London
    high-rise fire

    Government announces emergency fund
    London (CNN) — Residents furious over the handling of the
    Grenfell Tower disaster descended upon the local town hall in
    west London Friday afternoon, pushing their way into the
    building and shouting, "we want justice."
    Protesters, some holding fliers or wearing t-shirts with images
    of missing people, mounted the front steps and pushed their
    way into the building.

    Some attempted to force their way past security personnel to
    the upper floors at the headquarters of the Royal Borough of
    Kensington and Chelsea.


    Protesters gather outside Kensington town hall in west London.

    One man approached a TV camera, saying, "We want answers and justice." People did not favor violence but were
    desperate for information, he said.

    Theresa May, Britain's embattled Prime Minister, visiting nearby, was bundled away by security guards after
    protesters converged on the street. May has already faced criticism for failing to meet residents when she made a
    low-key visit to the scene Thursday.

    Protesters gather outside Kensington town hall in west London.
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    low-key visit to the scene Thursday.

    The UK government, which has already promised a full public inquiry, announced a $6.4M ($5M) fund to help
    those aected
    by the blaze.


    Some protesters managed to get inside the building.

    The London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, demanded that the government publish a list of other tower blocks checked by
    investigators by the end of Friday. In a letter to May, he listed a litany of concerns raised by residents, including the
    lack of information about missing relatives, the chaotic response of the local council, and concerns about safety in
    other tower blocks.

    "They feel the government and local council haven't done enough to help them in the aftermath of this horrific
    incident, or to provide answers to their increasingly urgent questions," Khan wrote in the letter.
    Residents are furious that many of the victims have not yet been found or identified, and believe authorities have
    been downplaying the number of victims. They believe that their longstanding concerns over fire safety at Grenfell
    Tower were not adequately addressed.
    Police said Friday that 30 people were confirmed to have died, but residents believe that up to 70 people perished
    in the blaze.


    Prime Minister Theresa May was criticized for a low-key visit to the disaster scene.

    Some protesters managed to get inside the building.
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    Anger on the streets
    One of the organizers of Friday afternoon's protest, Mustafa Al Mansur, told reporters that people were wholly
    unsatisfied with the ocial
    response to the fire.

    Al Mansur said there are still many details that are unknown, including information about the contractors who
    worked on the building's renovation in 2015 and 2016.
    He also said the tragedy underscores some of the lingering issues of inequality that have roiled Britain in recent
    years.

    "This is the richest borough in the UK but we have a building where some of the poorest people live," he said in an
    interview. "The safety measures are totally inadequate."
    He said the council spent money on the recent renovation merely "to decorate the exterior" so that it would "look
    better for the rich neighbors."

    He said there needs to be an independent inquiry, adding, "People are calling it a corporate manslaughter."
    Prime Minister Theresa May was criticized for a low-key visit to the disaster scene.
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    Protesters gather at Kensington Town Hall on Friday afternoon.

    The protests come as police say they may never be able to identify all of those who perished in the tower disaster,
    as anger and frustration mounted in the London neighborhood stunned by the tragedy.
    A criminal investigation has been launched into the circumstances surrounding the blaze. Police said the cause of
    the fire was unlikely to be arson, but a team of senior detectives is investigating whether other oenses
    were
    committed.

    One London Member of Parliament has called for corporate manslaughter charges to be brought, after it was
    revealed that flammable material had been used to clad the building during a recent refurbishment. No sprinkler
    system was installed.


    Queen Elizabeth II meets members of the community affected by the fire at Grenfell Tower in west London.

    Protesters gather at Kensington Town Hall on Friday afternoon.
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    Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Cambridge visited the area to meet residents and community representatives
    on Friday.

    Police said on Friday that they had identified the place where the fire originated, and disclosed that it was unlikely
    to have been started deliberately.

    Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy said there was "a risk that sadly we may not be able to identify
    everybody". He said 24 people remain in hospital, 12 of whom are in critical care.

    Queen Elizabeth II meets members of the community aected
    by the fire at Grenfell Tower in
    west London.

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    Details of victims emerge
    The names of those who died are beginning to emerge.
    One was Gloria Trevisan, a 26-year-old Italian architect who was living in London because her family was having
    financial diculties
    at home in Italy.


    Related article: Refugee fled Syria violence only to die in the London fire

    A lawyer for the family told CNN that Trevisan was able to speak with her parents before she died, telling them: "I
    am going to heaven. I will help you from up there."

    On Thursday, Mohammad Al-Hajali, 23, a refugee who fled Syria for the UK in 2014, was announced as the first
    victim of the fire.

    Mohammad and his brother Omar, both students, lived together in a 14th-floor apartment in Grenfell Tower.
    Omar, 25, survived, but the brothers were separated as firemen tried to rescue them from burning building early
    Wednesday.

    Read: Student pulls all-nighter helping Grenfell Tower victims, then takes exam
    Blame game

    The UK government has promised that all those made homeless by the disaster will be rehoused in the local area.
    But the government has been criticized for failing to act on recommendations from previous tower block fires.
    The Prime Minister is facing particular scrutiny over the role of her new chief of sta,
    Gavin Barwell, who served as
    housing minister until he lost his seat in last week's snap general election.

    Barwell had told lawmakers that the government intended to review fire safety standards following a deadly blaze
    at the Lakanal House high-rise building in south London in 2009, in which three women and three children died. In
    that case, exterior paneling helped the fire spread.

    Related Article: Refugee fled Syria violence only to die in the London fire
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    that case, exterior paneling helped the fire spread.
    Jim Fitzpatrick, an MP with the main opposition Labour Party,
    slammed the Conservative-led government for shuing
    its
    feet on the review.

    He said that he and a parliamentary group that he chairs have
    been pushing for better safety regulations since the 2009 fire.
    CNN's Angela Dewan, Eliza Mackintosh and Jeanne Bonner
    contributed to this report.

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  2. #2
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    It's been both extremely sad and satisfying to see some of the interviews of local residents. The majority of them are saying things like 'they don't care about the working class', 'if we were rich we would have had proper support' etc which has really put a class emphasis on a tragedy. Housing in London, and in general really, is a particularly acute issue. It will be interesting to see where this develops.
    Modern democracy is nothing but the freedom to preach whatever is to the advantage of the bourgeoisie - Lenin

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  4. #3
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    Default London protests demand “Justice for Grenfell!”

    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017.../ints-j19.html


    London protests demand “Justice for Grenfell!”

    By our reporters

    19 June 2017

    On Friday, thousands joined separate protests in London demanding “Justice for Grenfell,” for the victims of the catastrophic fire that ripped through the apartment block early on Wednesday morning.


    A protester on Friday's march through London

    Hundreds gathered outside Kensington Town Hall, while thousands more marched from the offices of the Department of Communities and Local Government to the government district of Whitehall, past the prime minister’s residence in Downing Street and then to Oxford Circus and the BBC’s headquarters.

    Protesters chanted “Justice for Grenfell,” “We want justice,” “May must go” and “Blood on your hands.” Many carried homemade placards denouncing government cost-cutting and deregulation that resulted in death and destruction for Grenfell Tower residents.

    World Socialist Web Site reporters spoke to some of those marching.

    Pablo is an architect from Spain who works in London. He said, “The fire could have been avoided. It was all about cutting costs. I work as an architect and I can tell that the authorities knew exactly what they were doing. They neglected this building because its residents were not rich. In architecture, we strive to build for mankind to have a decent accommodation and public spaces in buildings. This inferno goes against the universal principles of architecture.”


    Pablo and Valentina

    Pablo’s sister Valentina, a student in London, said, “Even in Spain we have not seen a tragedy of this kind in public housing. But it could happen anywhere because of cuts and austerity.”

    She continued, “In central London, student friends rent beds in basement rooms to live near the university. These are not rooms but simply beds. It is disgusting and no wonder fires happen. We have been in London four and half years and we have seen the housing crisis getting worse. This could happen to anyone who is not rich, but either middle or working class. That is why we are marching today.”

    Ade attended the rally with her friend Jane. Ade said, “It is absolutely disgusting, it is disgraceful. The Conservative government, the Tory council, Theresa May, they had a chance to change the fire regulations and the laws on that and did not do it.

    “They put that cladding on the building and it was just a torch. And they kept telling them to stay inside the building. That is valid if the building is fire safe, but it was not. They knew it was not. The same happened in Australia, the same thing happened in Lakanal House in Camberwell [in London in 2009]. People died and they don’t care, it is deliberate.”


    Ade (centre) holding a banner

    Asked what she thought of Prime Minister May’s proposal to hold a public inquiry into the fire, Ade said, “You don’t want a public inquiry, you want an inquest. Because if there is a public inquiry, it is all going to be behind closed doors. The families will not have a chance to get any input, to have a say. We need an inquest. It is manslaughter.”

    The WSWS reporter told Ade, “We say it is a crime against the working class,” to which she replied, “It absolutely is.”

    Jane said, “The price difference between flammable and non-flammable cladding panel is minimal. It is two pounds for each panel that burnt and it was 24 pounds for the ones that did not burn.”


    Patricia and her daughter

    Patricia, a single mother from a council tower block elsewhere in London, has been hit hard by cuts to tax credits and higher council tax. “I have 200-300 pounds remaining each month to live on. Over the years, you have seen your bills going up and your welfare help going down. I am a lone parent, I just need a good life. I don’t want to be rich.

    “There needs to be justice for the victims,” she continued. “Kensington and Chelsea is a very rich borough. There are such wealthy properties around the estate, and a rich shopping centre. What is so insulting is that the cladding went up to make the tower just look nice for the rich people.”


    Megan

    Megan, a former librarian who lives on a council estate in Hackney, spoke about the impact of austerity cuts: “It’s the National Health Service, the housing, the fire brigade being cut, as they are paying out so much for wars. Health and safety legislation has been weakened.”

    Made redundant last year after her library at London Metropolitan University was targeted for cuts, Megan said, “You are lucky to get a council flat. A lot of people pay two-thirds of their income in rent. In London rents have always been out of proportion to what people earned at the bottom. You can see that they want poorer people out of London.”

    Megan said she agreed with WSWS reporters that the terrible housing conditions at Grenfell Tower were replicated throughout Britain and internationally. “Yes. It is happening everywhere,” she said. “And housing is a right, a human right, as is food, health and free education.”

    Copyright © 1998-2017 World Socialist Web Site - All rights reserved
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    Default Grenfell Tower is a terrible betrayal of human rights

    The tragic fire remains a symbol of what has gone wrong in housing for poor people, despite my warnings to the UK government not to ignore human rights.


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    Default Boris Johnson and the Grenfell Tower inferno

    via wsws.org

    As London mayor, Johnson forced through massive cuts in the London Fire Brigade budget despite repeated warnings that they would cost lives.

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    Default 500 to 600 people died in London tower fire: DJ Isla

    Angry and emotional resident says aid effort for Grenfell Tower victims is in vain because they are all dead and no one will admit it, least of all the authorities.


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    Default Grenfell Tower Fire – Corporate Manslaughter in London

    via investigaction.net

    A massive fire engulfed Grenfell Tower in the early hours of June 14th. Grenfell Tower is a 24-storey building of public housing flats in the North Kensington area of London. […]

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    Default Hundreds of thousands in UK face same fire risk as Grenfell Tower victims

    via wsws.org

    Of the UK’s 4,000 tower blocks, 600 have been selected for testing, due to the use of unsafe building materials.

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    Default UK: Camden residents speak of ill treatment during tower block evacuation

    via wsws.org

    WSWS reporters spoke to some of the thousands of Camden residents, who were evacuated because their tower blocks are unsafe.

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    Default Government-backed 'red tape' group looked at EU fire safety rules on morning of Grenf

    A document obtained by Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, and seen by the Guardian, singled out EU regulation which covers the safety and efficacy of construction materials as among the first to target for dismantling. Among the products covered in the EU regulation is cladding.


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    Default 'Hundreds' died in Grenfell Tower fire, says shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott

    The MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington also blames the disaster on Tory attitudes toward social housing.


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    Default Why Grenfell Tower Burned: Regulators Put Cost Before Safety

    The doorbell woke Yassin Adam just before 1 a.m. A neighbor was frantically alerting others on the fourth floor of Grenfell Tower about a fire in his apartment. 'My fridge blew up,' the man shouted.


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  14. #13
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    An absolute disaster. They've just found a whole heap of building with that terrible cladding (cladding, because the conservative government needs to doll-up these run-down flats for to impress their yuppy friends).

    Hundreds of people have been moved from Camden town in North London due to the presence of this.
    "It is we the workers who built these palaces and cities here in Spain and in America and everywhere. We, the workers, can build others to take their place. And better ones! We are not in the least afraid of ruins. " - Buenaventura Durutti

    "The life of a single human being is worth a million times more than all the property of the richest man on earth." - Ernesto Che Guevara.

    "Its Called the American dream, because you gotta be asleep to believe it". - George Carlin

    Tone ~ Emmet ~ Larkin ~ Connolly ~ O Donnell


    www.union.ie


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    Default London’s Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council: A residents’ association for the ric

    via wsws.org

    The Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation, despite being nominally a tenants’ organisation, has served the Conservative council’s broader objectives.

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    Default Residents in Camden speak about Grenfell fire and their evacuation due to fire risk

    via wsws.org

    World Socialist Web Site reporters spoke to residents evacuated from tower blocks on the Chalcots Estate in London by Labour Party-run Camden council over the weekend.

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    Default Flammable cladding rife in Australian construction industry

    via wsws.org

    The dangers of aluminium composite panels were known to building authorities and relevant government ministers long before the Grenfell Tower disaster.

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    Default The political implications of the Grenfell Tower fire

    via wsws.org

    The staggering loss of life epitomises the devastation capitalism has wrought on generations of working people. It is the outcome of a vast and ongoing transfer of society’s wealth from the poor to the rich.

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    Default Arconic knowingly supplied flammable panels for use in tower

    Six emails sent by and to an Arconic Inc sales manager raise questions about why the company supplied combustible cladding to a distributor for use at Grenfell Tower, despite publicly warning such panels were a fire risk for tall buildings.


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    Default On-the-spot report from London: Residents speak on Grenfell fire

    via wsws.org

    Residents near the burnt-out Grenfell Tower spoke about the gaping social divide in London and the responsibility of the Tories and Labourites for this horrific loss of life.

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    Default Flint, Michigan residents speak about London fire

    via wsws.org

    Residents in Flint, Michigan, said the Grenfell Tower fire, like the lead poisoning of their city, was the result of politicians subordinating the needs of the population to private profit.

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