Six arrested over Grenfell Tower bonfire

30th Nov 2018

Aqila Mumthaz

Bobbi Connell, 19, and dad Clifford Smith, 49, and neighbour Paul Bussetti, 46, handed themselves in to south London police on November 5, after the horrific footage showed the men mocking the deadly Grenfell Tower blaze by burning an effigy of the building as part of Guy Fawkes’ Night celebrations.

Three others were also arrested under section 4a of the Public Order Act 1986, which covers intentional “harassment, alarm or distress” caused via the use of “threatening, abusive or insulting” words or signs.

It comes after Prime Minister, Theresa May, condemned the video. She took to Twitter to respond to the clip, tweeting, “To disrespect those who lost their lives at Grenfell Tower, as well as their families and loved ones, is utterly unacceptable.”

Under the Public Order Act, a religiously or racially aggravated offences carry a prison sentence of up to two years, a fine or both.

The men were seen in the viral video that has been circulating which shows the disturbing act of an effigy of the Grenfell towers being set aflame. It was made to win an ‘offensive effigy contest.’

It was revealed on November 8, that the two men were members of the South Norwood Conservative Club (SNCC), a social society for Conservative supporters. SNCC has since suspended the men, as police investigations continue. A total of 72 people were killed in the devastating blaze at the west London tower block in June 2017.

The footage shows a large model bearing a Grenfell Tower sign, complete with paper figures at the windows, being set on fire.

The video shared on social media shows a cardboard model of the tower being set alight by a laughing crowd, whilst onlookers shout “Help me! Help me!” and “Jump out the window!”

As the fire spreads, a voice in the background says, “All the little ninjas getting it at the minute” while the camera focuses on a paper cut-out with a face covering. Towards the end of the clip, a person says, “That’s what happens when they don’t pay their rent,” and cheering as the model went up in flames. Rukayet Mamadu, a survivor of the fire, told the Victoria

Derbyshire programme, “It’s chilling, it’s cold-blooded. I feel so bad, let alone people who lost relatives,” and she called the video the “climax of intolerance of the system and society.”

Moyra Samuels, from the Justice For Grenfell campaign group, told the BBC the video was “a disgusting attack on vulnerable people”.

“We have no doubt that there are actually decent, generous people across Britain and this actual act doesn’t represent ordinary British people. But there is a worrying rise in racism in this country at the moment. And that is concerning because it’s now starting to impact on us directly, which means that we actually need to be thinking what we do about this, and how we respond to this as a whole,” she said.

Neighbours and the wider community have condemned their actions, raising questions about their characters and on November 14, hundreds of locals in south London marched silently through the streets wearing green, holding justice for Grenfell banners near the suburban house where the effigy was set aflame condemning the despicable video.

Ian Bone, past resident of Grenfell Tower said, “Let’s show Grenfell that we stand with them and are sickened by the actions of a small minority in our area.”

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