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News > World

'Day of Rage' Protests in UK as Parliament Opens

  • Demonstrators march during a protest about the Grenfell Tower fire, in London, Britain, on June 21, 2017.

    Demonstrators march during a protest about the Grenfell Tower fire, in London, Britain, on June 21, 2017. | Photo: Reuters

Published 21 June 2017

Demonstrators march on Downing Street calling for Prime Minister Theresa May to resign.

Rallies are being held in the U.K. to coincide with the state opening of Parliament and the Queen's speech outlining the government's legislative program for the next year.

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Organized by Movement for Justice By Any Means Necessary, MFJ, the “Day of Rage” gatherings are calling for the government to step down over its response to last week's London Tower Block fire which left at least 79 people dead.

The group says it is also a protest is against the Prime Minister Theresa May's “brutal austerity, cuts and anti-immigrant attacks.”

“Politicians and many community and religious leaders will be looking to divert our rage and fury into inquiries, investigations, reports, court hearings, and parliamentary processes,” the MFJ event page said.

“We will not accept those brush-offs and diversions, we will not settle for less than the destruction of May’s coalition of austerity and bigotry — we must bring down this government.”

The Clement James Centre, which has been helping survivors of the fire, said, “We cannot emphasize enough how against this many of the affected residents we’ve spoken to are and they do not want their grief hijacked for any violent or destructive means.”

The demonstration was timed to coincide with the Queen’s Speech in which May promised a public inquiry into last week's blaze in the capital.

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"My government will initiate a full public inquiry into the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower to ascertain the causes, and ensure that the appropriate lessons are learnt,” Queen Elizabeth said in the speech.

“To support victims, my government will take forward measures to introduce an independent public advocate, who will act for bereaved families after a public disaster and support them at public inquests," she added.

The Queen's Speech, which is prepared by ministers and read out by the monarch, said the government's priority was to secure the best possible deal for the U.K. as it prepares to leave the European Union.

“My ministers are committed to working with Parliament, the devolved administrations, business and others to build the widest possible consensus on the country's future outside the European Union," Queen Elizabeth said.

The EU and the U.K. started talks over Brexit on Monday. But after losing the June 8 snap election, which left her Conservative Party short of a majority in Parliament, May hasn’t yet secure a deal with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to support her government.

Lawmakers will have to approve the speech in a vote, expected next Thursday, that will be a de facto vote of confidence.

Other protests on Wednesday include one organized by Stand Up to Racism called “Protest the Queen’s Speech - no to May / DUP racism & bigotry!”

While the London Socialist Party is hosting a Facebook event called “May Must Go! Protest the Queen’s Speech.”

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