Once again, protesters are on the march with a stated goal of bringing enough pressure on the government to bring it down. Organizers say the march is in response to what is seen as a failure of government to respond to the issues surrounding the Grenfell Tower fire. Meanwhile, some have appealed to the demonstrators not to overshadow their grievances with violence.
The Protests, three in all, including a “day of rage” demonstration, are being held to coincide with a speech by the Queen which will mark the formal unveiling of the government’s legislative agenda for this political season. One protest organized by the Movement for Justice By Any Means Necessary (MJF), is demanding local housing for the displaced residents of Grenfell Tower in addition to all residents who do not have legal immigration papers be allowed to permanently remain in the UK.
According to RT.com, Karen Doyle, the orgainizer, told media that what happened at Grenfell Tower was nothing less than “mass murder” and the government must be held accountable. Doyle said, “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.”
Doyle added: “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. 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.”
In addition, the other protests scheduled include: a demonstration organized by Stand Up to Racism called “Protest the Queen’s Speech – no to May / DUP racism & bigotry!”, and the 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 Center, 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, Labor’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.”
Meanwhile, against a backdrop that the protests could turn violent, Labor leader John McDonnell urged the protesters to follow the example of Gandhi telling them: “Today, people have got the right to be angry. What they haven’t got is the right to be violent. 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.
Police officers have appealed for calm from protesters marching on parliament.