Anger turns to rage as police escort Theresa May from Grenfell Tower protestors
Prime Minister Theresa May had to be rushed away from protestors under police guard as anger continues to mount over the Grenfell Fire disaster. Some esimates now say that as many as 70 people, possibly even more, might have died.
There were jeers of 'coward', 'you're not wanted' and 'shame on you' as she left a church under police escort near the charred and blackened tower in North Kensington.
Hundreds of protestors stormed Kensington and Chelsea Town Hall and also marched on Downing Street as grief, rage and demands for justice grew in equal measure.
Rev Mike Long, at Notting Hill Methodist Church, told the BBC that survivors were angry and needed justice.
'Some of the poeple I've been hearing don't call this an accident they say this is a crime,' he said.
His church has become a focus for people to meet, help survivors and those grieving, and to meet to debate what must be done now. 'Our role is to help the community simply express what they are thinking and feeling at the moment, to ensure our persepectives are taken seriously, that people feel they are being taken seriously.'
He spoke of the 'incredibly stark' gap between rich and pooor – an increasing and pervading 'sense of injustice' where people in a multi-million pound house can be living right next door, for example, to a family of six in a one-bed flat.
Grenfell Tower housed about 600 people in about 120 apartments. It is part of a low-rent housing estate which lies right next to one of the most affluent areas of Britain.
'The massive overcrowding in the local area is something many people are simply unaware of,' said Long. 'You might have a teenage girl who throughout her life has shared her bedroom with ber mother, that is common in ths area.
He said the churches will have a central role in coming weeks and months, enabling community cohesion and helping the comunity come together to express the sense of injustice.
'There is perhaps a role for the church to enable the most wealthy to see our society in a new way.'
Crowds sang Amazing Grace and This Little Light of Mine at the Grenfell Tower protest outside Downing Street in London last night.
May has promised to set up a public inquiry and pledged £5 million to help victims and has outlined a series of measures to help those left homeless. Residents are furious that their fire safety concerns – many of them publicised openly on blogs and websites – had been ignored and that people had been told to stay in their flats in the event of a fire.
At the town hall, protesters barged their way through an automatic door at and sought to gain entry to an upper floor. Police barred their way and scuffles broke out.
The protesters chanted: 'We want justice', 'bring them out' and 'shame on you'.
One member of the public said: 'Nobody knows what is happening. People are so angry. Those people shouldn't be sleeping in the street.'
Mustafa Al Mansur, who organised the protest, read a statement from the council which promised to re-house as many people locally as they could and to provide funding for those affected.
But he called the response 'flimsy' with 'no concrete answers'.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan wrote to May on Friday, saying residents felt increasingly enraged and frustrated by the slow response from the authorities. 'The local community feels their grief has been made worse by the lack of information about their missing family members and friends. People are terrified that the same thing could happen to them.'
Police have said it could take months to search the building and some victims might never be identified.
Additional reporting by Reuters