LONDON, U.K. - Already spiralling in trouble, Theresa May’s leadership was drawn into more trouble after she came under harsh criticism for failing to visit the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire on Thursday.
Critics called her out for the inhuman gesture, while the close-knit West London community branded her a ‘coward’ when she visited the St Clement’s Church on Friday.
Over the last three days, St Clement’s Church has provided a place of refuge for families of those people who are missing.
In a bid to try to make up for her mistake, that only served to enrage the community, even more, May’s visit provoked widespread criticism and anger after she visited St Clement’s Church.
Soon after the community learnt that the Prime Minister was to visit the victims, a crowd gathered at the spot, filling the street outside the church.
People yelled out at the PM to come out and face them, answer their questions, with one of the members yelling out at the security officials barring the door of the church, “Why have you brought her here? If she cared she would have come yesterday.”
According to reports, the Prime Minister met survivors from the tower, as well as community leaders and other local residents during her visit to the Church.
However, noting the hostile behaviour of the crowd, riot vans began to move forward, parting the crowd so the Prime Minister could leave.
Around 70 people rushed towards May’s car and ran after her, as police attempted to barricade the vehicle, creating a human barrier between the mob and the Prime Minister’s car.
As the car sped away, people screamed “shame on you” and “coward,”
Earlier in the day, an angry mob stormed Kensington Town Hall, charging at the doors after a protest in solidarity with the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire turned awry.
Many of the protesters held posters bearing the faces of the missing and chanted, “We want justice!”
One of May’s Cabinet ministers, Andrea Leadsom was reportedly confronted by furious locals at a community centre near the site of the inferno.
Protesters later marched on Whitehall, the street that runs past the office of the prime minister, and later through the upscale neighbourhood of Notting Hill, where they called on residents to join them.
May’s visit to the victims came after the Queen and the Duke of Cambridge visited the area to offer solace to the victims.
To ease the criticism of her Government, May, on Friday also announced a 5 million pound support package for the victims of the fire, which includes legal aid for victims in the public inquiry.
After the tragedy, reports revealed that the potential cost-cutting in the refurbishment of the tower may have contributed to the astonishing speed with which it burned.
A report in the Guardian newspaper had revealed that the cladding panels used in last year’s renovation of the building were about $2 per square meter cheaper than a fire-resistant model.
Another report had revealed that the type of cladding used on the tower had been banned in U.S. high-rises because of safety concerns.
The contractor that carried out the renovations, the management organisation and the council have all denied wrongdoing, saying last year’s work complied with fire safety codes.
Further, the community was more infuriated after the police acknowledged on Friday that they do not know how many people died in the blaze and may never be able to identify all of the victims.
The same day, authorities raised the death toll to 30 as relatives and friends expanded frantic searches for missing loved ones.
London Police Cmdr. Stuart Cundy added that 24 people were being treated in hospitals, including 12 in critical care.
Meanwhile, Cundy has stated that there was no indication that Wednesday’s fire was started deliberately but investigators were still studying why the flames raced so quickly through the 24-story building in west London.
Forensic teams and others picked through the burned-out hull in the wreckage apartment by apartment.
On Saturday, the police said 58 people who were in Grenfell Tower are still missing and assumed to be dead.
Cundy said that this number, which was based on reports from the public, may rise.
Adding that it will take weeks or longer to recover and identify all the dead in the public housing block.
He said there may have been people in the tower that police are not aware of, which would add to the death toll even as the search for remains had been paused earlier due to safety concerns, but has resumed since.
Cundy promised an exhausting investigation into the tragedy and said, “My heart goes out to those affected."
Earlier on Saturday, service on two London Underground lines has been partially suspended because of concerns about the safety of the high-rise.
London's fire department said that the reason for the subway closure near the high-rise fire disaster is because of a "short-term risk of some debris falling onto the tracks."
A fire department spokesman said crews are working to secure the debris so that two subway lines could be reopened as soon as possible.
The 24-story Grenfell Tower in the North Kensington neighbourhood in west London was gutted in a blaze early Wednesday morning that has left 30 people dead, dozens missing and hundreds of others homeless.
After the embarrassing visits on Friday, May is now reportedly set to meet with survivors at her Downing Street office.
A spokesperson for the Prime Minister also said that May will be chairing a government task force on the fire - followed by a meeting with "a group of residents, victims, volunteers and community leaders" at No. 10 Downing Street.
Meanwhile, over 3 million pounds has been raised for victims of the London high-rise fire so far and Londoners and others have also donated huge amounts of food, water and clothing, and shelter, to survivors.