Grenfell Tower residents storm Kensington Town Hall in angry protest over deadly fire

'They let our children burn! They burned like animals in a building,' shout demonstrators, as they hand over a list of demands to council

Grenfell Tower fire: Protesters storm Kensington Town Hall

Protesters have stormed Kensington Town Hall amid mounting anger over the official response to the deadly Grenfell Tower fire.

Hundreds of demonstrators chanting "justice" burst into the building, carrying a list of demands they said authorities must meet.

Other large protests later emerged in other parts of London, including hundreds elsewhere in Kensington and at least 1,400 people on Downing Street, according to organiser estimates.

Police, including a number of mounted officers, arrived at Kensington Town Hall after the disturbance.

Having initially entered the building, protesters were called back away from the foyer by an organiser, Mustafa Mansour, who urged them to remain calm.

A disturbance briefly broke out near a different exit to the building, reportedly as police tried to escort council staff out. Bystanders told The Independent that two people who emerged from the town hall were punched.

Pictures showed demonstrators confronting a man they purportedly believed to be Robert Black, the Chief Executive of KCTMO, the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation responsible for managing Grenfell Tower on behalf of the council.

Scores of people remained inside the Town Hall lobby, calling for councillors to face the crowd.

They shouted "we need answers" and "we need to be heard". A young woman at the top of the stairs urged peaceful protest.

"There's going to be no violence, but we're staying here until we get answers," she said.

The crowd then chanted: "We want justice" and "You left them there to die!"

The protesters then began to disperse from the building, but hundreds remained outside. Many had lived in the tower and lost family and friends.

Siar Naqshbandi, 30, lived on the third floor of Grenfall Tower, but his relatives lived on the 20th.

“There’s been no proper help,” he told The Independent. "The only help has been the emergency services and the community. We’ve not received anything.”

Prime Minster Theresa May’s quiet visit to Grenfall Tower – now called ‘Ground Zero’ by the community – had caused further anger.

“I didn’t know she came until I saw her on the news,” Mr Naqshbandi said. “When the Queen can walk in a crowded room, why can’t she [Theresa May]?”

Fazia Sheikh, 37, agreed: “Theresa May came just to show her face. She didn’t see anyone.”

Among the five demands handed by protesters to council officials, one asked the authority to guarantee all those left homeless by the deadly inferno be rehoused in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

On the Town Hall steps, Mr Mansour read out responses to the demands from the council, which stated those affected would be rehoused as near to the area as possible.

At least 30 people were killed in the devastating blaze at the 24-storey Grenfell tower block in west London. Twelve people remain in hospital, with dozens still thought to be missing.

Kensington Town Hall Grenfell Tower protest: People chant "Shame on you!"

“The government has been talking rubbish, lies,” continued Ms Sheikh, a resident of area for 30 years. She said she grew up with most of the people at the town hall demonstration.

“We will never know the truth,” she said. “If we do nothing now, if we get no answers, it will happen again."

“They think they can get away with it. It’s not fair, those are kids, families [in Grenfall Tower].

“They don’t realise how tight the community is. But we’re under so much pressure to leave, they’re putting the rent up. They want the area to be for the rich people.”

A council spokesman initially declined to comment on the action. A Met Police spokesman said no arrests were made at the Kensington town hall protest.

A police statement said: "At around 16:35hrs on Friday, 16 June, a number of individuals entered the public area of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Town Hall to protest.

"After a short period of time police and security escorted them out."

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