London protests held as anger mounts over Grenfell fire

Marco Green
June 19, 2017

At least 58 people are missing and presumed dead in the blaze that broke out in the early hours of Wednesday, catching many families in their sleep.

Protesters gathered to call for help for the residents of the burned building, and the BBC reports that dozens of people "stormed Kensington and Chelsea Town Hall with a list of demands".

Saturday marks Queen Elizabeth II's official birthday - her actual 91st birthday was April 21 - but the reigning monarch said it's hard to be in a celebratory mood in light of recent terror attacks in London and Manchester.

Tower residents and many others in the area are still struggling to come to terms with what they have seen and lived through.

"In our meeting at Downing Street, we explained to the Prime Minister the anger of all residents towards the management of the estate over a long period of time, paving the way to this tragedy".

She also pledged 5 million pounds ($6.39 million) of support, housing guarantees and help with access to bank accounts and cash.

Questions over the Prime Ministers judgement have been raised following her reaction to the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Weakened by a botched election gamble last week, May has been criticized for her muted response to the fire and had to be rushed away from a meeting with residents on Friday under heavy police guard as protesters shouted "Shame on you".

Using drones and sniffer dogs, firefighters continued searching the burnt-out hulk that looms over Notting Dale, a low-income district of west London.

There were also indications that political groups had joined protests that spread beyond those immediately affected by the fire.

"It has been decided today that the public inquiry will report back to me personally", May said. British health authorities say that 19 patients, 10 of whom remain in critical condition, are still being treated at four London hospitals.

Mr Cundy added: "My commitment to families is that as soon as we can, we will locate and recover their loved ones". The group a year ago completed a 10 million pound ($12.8 million) renovation that included new outside insulating panels, double-glazed windows and a communal heating system. The building, which was outfitted with aluminum composite material (ACM), had apparently not been properly inspected.

Reaction among Conservatives has ranged from criticism by former lawmakers to defensiveness by those serving in May's Cabinet, adding to questions of whether May can survive politically.

Aluminium composite panels have been used to cover the outside of buildings for more than 40 years.

It issued a statement before the protest to try to address the concerns of residents.

"It would not be appropriate for us to comment or for others to speculate on any aspect of fire, or its causes, in advance of these inquiries", managing director Ray Bailey said.

Experts believe the exterior cladding, which contained insulation, helped spread the flames quickly along the outside of the tower in the Wednesday morning blaze that has killed at least 58 people.

Almost 110 families made homeless from the blaze are being housed at hotels in west London. Churches and community centers are providing meals and support, and donations of clothing, toys and household supplies are flooding in.

The Queen and Duke of Cambridge met volunteers, residents and community representatives during a visit to the Westway Sports Centre.

The Local Government Association said authorities were reviewing fire risk assessments and the construction of buildings. Police have said it could take months to search the building and some victims might never be identified.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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