British police arrest five over Bonfire Night burning of Grenfell Tower effigy

  • Police said the men were arrested on suspicion of a public order offence after handing themselves in to a police station in south London
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 November, 2018, 8:36pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 November, 2018, 9:24pm

British police have arrested five men after a video was posted on the internet that showed people mocking the deadly Grenfell Tower blaze by burning an effigy of the building as part of Guy Fawkes Night celebrations.

The video which appeared on social media showed a cardboard model of the tower with cut outs of residents in the windows being set alight on a bonfire while those watching laughed and made jokes.

In the video, onlookers can be heard saying: “Help me! Help me!”, “Jump out the window!” and “That’s what happens when they don’t pay their rent.”

Grenfell Tower, a council housing block in London that was home to an ethnically diverse community, was engulfed by flames in the middle of the night of June 14, 2017, killing 71 people in the country’s deadliest domestic fire since the second world war.

“To disrespect those who lost their lives at Grenfell Tower, as well as their families and loved ones, is utterly unacceptable,” Prime Minister Theresa May said on Twitter.

Police said the men, aged 19, 46, 55 and two 49-year-olds, had been arrested in south London.

“Five men have been arrested on suspicion of a public order offence in connection with an investigation into a video posted online that showed an effigy of Grenfell Tower being burnt,” Scotland Yard said in a statement. “They have been taken into custody.”

Police Commander Stuart Cundy, who is leading the investigation into the Grenfell disaster, said he was “frankly appalled by the callous nature” of the video.

Across Britain in early November, towns and villages hold annual firework parties and burn effigies of Guy Fawkes, the Roman Catholic plotter who tried to blow up parliament in 1605.

Cladding used to make Grenfell Tower a ‘green building’ may have accelerated spread of fire

Larger celebrations often burn celebrity figures with effigies of flamboyant ex-Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson being torched at a number of events this year while previous targets have included US President Donald Trump.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse