LONDON – Protesters are marching on Downing Street to “bring down the government” over its response to the Grenfell Tower fire, amid appeals to ensure their grievances are not overshadowed by violence.
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Day of Rage protest getting more heated outside Downing Street. pic.twitter.com/c8POfOrTIt
— Simon Jones (@SimonJonesNews) June 21, 2017
Three protests, including a “day of rage” demonstration, are being held to coincide with the Queen’s Speech, the formal unveiling of the government’s legislative agenda.
Organizer Karen Doyle told RT what happened at Grenfell Tower amounts to “mass murder” and the government must be held accountable.
Flares lit outside Downing St – bit tense for 5 mins pic.twitter.com/7UrL31ebc7
— Andy Lines (@andylines) June 21, 2017
“What happened in Grenfell … was the result of a government that has consistently put business interests and money and profits above the lives and safety of people – working class people, immigrants – for years. They’re being squeezed out of London to make way for big business.
— Paco Anselmi (@PacoHansel84) June 21, 2017
“We are furious. We are so furious at what happened in Grenfell – potentially 100 lives lost from negligence and disdain of poor and immigrant communities.”
Doyle added: “We want to take that anger to parliament and we want to say that this government has got to go. This is the day Theresa May tries to get back to business as usual and we’re not prepared to let that happen.”
— Joey Millar ✏️ (@JoeyMillar) June 21, 2017
Other events on Wednesday include a demonstration organized by Stand Up to Racism called “Protest the Queen’s Speech – no to May / DUP racism & bigotry!”
London Socialist Party is hosting a Facebook event called “May Must Go! Protest the Queen’s Speech.”
Those taking part in the protests have been urged to remain peaceful, amid fears that anger over the Grenfell disaster could be hijacked for violent means.
The Clement James Centre, which has been helping Grenfell Tower residents, told the Guardian that affected residents “do not want their grief hijacked for any violent or destructive means.”
Asked about his support for the demonstrations, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said he backed the right to take direct action but only if it is peaceful. He urged protesters to “follow the lead of Gandhi.”
To everyone planning on demonstrating against Theresa May's government over the next few weeks, it is vital that these protests are peaceful
— John McDonnell (@johnmcdonnellMP) June 20, 2017
“Today, people have got the right to be angry. What they haven’t got is the right to be violent,” he told the BBC.
He added that the Tories have “no right to govern,” and that Labour would exploit May’s weak mandate in the House of Commons to reverse Conservative cuts to public services.