2017-06-22 21:45:38

Austerity & Neglect Blamed as 79 Die in U.K. Apartment Fire Housing Immigrants & Low-Income Workers

Protests are continuing in London over last week’s devastating apartment fire that killed 79 people. On Wednesday, around 200 protesters, including survivors of the fire, marched from West London to Parliament to protest the government’s handling of the fire. Last week’s fire occurred at a 24-story apartment building called Grenfell Tower located in the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood of West London. Many of the residents of the building are low-income workers and recent immigrants. The company that recently renovated the building admitted over the weekend it used highly flammable—and less expensive—cladding during construction. The cladding is banned from use in the U.S. and European Union, but allowed in Britain. The building’s residents say the renovation was largely aimed at making aesthetic improvements to the exterior of the building in order to make it blend in with the new luxury high-rises in the area. We speak to Mustafa Almansur, the principal organizer of the Grenfell protests. He began organizing after learning a family friend died in the blaze.

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