Grenfell tower charity accuses Day of Rage activists of 'hijacking' disaster

Grenfell tower charity accuses Day of Rage activists of 'hijacking' disaster

Organisers behind a "Day of Rage" protest in the UK have been accused of hijacking the Grenfell Tower disaster for political purposes.

The demonstration, started by Movement for Justice By Any Means Necessary (MFJ), is billed as a day of action for the victims of the inferno.

Due to coincide with the Queen's Speech, hundreds of people are expected to join the march, aiming, according to its event page, to "bring down the Government".

But a charity which has been supporting those affected by the blaze said it "cannot emphasise enough" how many people from the west London tower block oppose it.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell made a renewed call for a peaceful demonstration on Wednesday morning.

"Today, people may call it a Day of Rage or whatever, they have got the right, if they want, to be angry, but they haven't got the right to be violent, all protest must be peaceful," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

In an incendiary Facebook post, the MFJ declared there was a "class war" being waged by the Government on the working class, concluding: "There will be no peace until this Government is brought down."

The far-left activists describe themselves as a "youth-led civil rights movement" which fights for "justice, equality and respect", according to its websites.

They have staged a string of anti-Government protests over recent years and in March led an event called: "Brexit is Racist."

Repeated calls have been made by the MFJ across past demonstrations to "bring down" the Government and "shut down" cities.

Promotion for Wednesday's Day of Rage makes frequent reference to last week's tragedy, which has claimed the lives of at least 79 people and left hundreds more homeless.

The page reads: "Politicians and many community and religious leaders will be looking to divert our rage and fury into inquiries, investigations, reports, court hearings and parliamentary processes.

"We will not accept those brush-offs and diversions, we will not settle for less than the destruction of May's coalition of austerity and bigotry - we must bring down this government."

Among the demands made are the permanent right to remain in the UK for all Grenfell Tower residents, and for survivors to take over unoccupied flats in Kensington and Chelsea.

The Clement James Centre, which has been helping those displaced by the fire, shunned the movement as opportunistic.


"There has been a 'Day of Rage' announced for Wednesday, trying to bring London to a standstill," a spokesman said.

"We cannot emphasise enough how against this many of the affected residents we've spoken to are and they do not want their grief hijacked for any violent or destructive means."

The Day of Rage demonstration will see protesters march to Downing Street at 1pm on Wednesday.

It takes place on the day Prime Minister Theresa May sets out her legislative programme for the next two years in the Queen's Speech.

Other events will take place later in the day, including a demo by Stand Up To Racism at 6pm called: "Protest the Queen's speech - no to May/DUP racism & bigotry!"

The London Socialist Party is hosting a Facebook event called "May Must Go! Protest the Queen's Speech" at 4pm.

Hundreds have indicated online that they will be attending the protests.

On the eve of the protest, a fourth-floor resident of Grenfell Tower, who was forced to flee the fire, said any violence would "disgrace" the victims.

Mahad Egal made the plea for order in a video message posted on social media.

He had to run from the tower block when his next-door neighbour told him his fridge had caught fire, moments before the entire building was engulfed.

"I know this is a frustrating time," he said in the clip.

"But I would just like to send a message out: please, to all those protesting, we don't need no violence in the community, we do not want that in our name.

"Please do not disgrace those who have been affected in Grenfell by resorting to violence, we need people to come together.

"The community has come together, we don't need no violence in the community.

"Please make sure it is a peaceful protest so that the people and the victims of Grenfell, the survivors of Grenfell, can all be heard.

"So please, no violence, we need people to come together now, thank you."

Concerns that the Grenfell Tower blaze was being exploited by protesters was addressed by one speaker at Shepherd's Bush Green, where the event was due to begin.

Karen Doyle, from the Movement for Justice, told the several dozen people gathered for the march: "We would never ask them (the Grenfell victims) to stand up here, we are not marching through the community, we are starting here in Shepherd's Bush and marching to Parliament.

"But there is an anger here in the wider community and across London and way across this country and this anger needs to be heard."

Asked if the British Prime Minister had a message for the protesters, her official spokesman told a Westminster briefing: "There's a long tradition of peaceful protest in this country but what is absolutely vital is that that protest is peaceful, and we hope that that's the case."

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