Nearly 2,000 London protesters shared one message: “Theresa May, quit!”
The group gathered outside the prime minister’s home at Number 10 Downing Street and called for her to step down because of her response to the Grenfell Tower fire.
So far, 58 bodies have been found in the smoldering shell of Grenfell Tower. Many people are still searching for friends and family members.
People are outraged by the lack of compassion May has shown for the victims.
“I think it’s absolutely disgraceful, said one protester,” 39-year-old Lavinia Blundell-Richards. “It shows a complete lack of empathy. It’s the behavior of a sociopath and a person who can’t connect with the feelings of those people who have suffered. She’s never had to suffer.”
May did meet with victims and victims’ families. She also worked out an aid package of $6.4 million, some of which would be available immediately for day-to-day necessities, and some which would provide housing for those left homeless.
She also worked with banks to make sure people who had lost their bank cards in the fire could access their accounts.
The prime minister also ordered an investigation into the fire shortly after it started.
The prime minister does show a self-possessed, controlled effect—she stays unflustered.
Protesters found it not controlled, but remote.
“Theresa May’s come across as cold and disengaged the whole time she has been in office and before that, and I think it’s just a continuation of that,” said Liam Anderson, 29. “She made a mistake not going to visit the residents (of Grenfell Tower), there wasn’t enough official response on the scene. There was a much quicker reaction from people who actually live in the communities than there was from the authorities.”
Journalist Owen Jones organized the protest. He had organized it before the tower fire.
Initially it was a protest against the alliance Between Prime Minister May and the hard-right Democratic Unionist Party.
Jones simply repurposed the protest when the tower fire gave him more emotionally potent ammunition.
“Even these shocking times, I often think I can’t be shocked anymore but Theresa May’s interview (on BBC on June 16) did shock me nonetheless,” Jones said. The lack of emotion, the lack of care, sticking to her robotic, rehearsed lines … not, you know, providing leadership.”
The protest organizer said opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn did what May should have done.
“The leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, has ended up having to offer that leadership, meeting the residents, speaking out about the injustices that caused the fire in the first place,” he said.