Five arrested after 'sickening' Grenfell Tower effigy

Five arrested after 'sickening' Grenfell Tower effigy
The video clip showed a large effigy marked 'Grenfell Tower', complete with brown paper figures at the windows, being set ablaze on a bonfire with raucous laughter in the background.
2 min read
06 November, 2018
At least 72 people died in the Grenfell Tower blaze. [Getty]

Five men have been arrested over a video showing a laughing group of people burning a model of the Grenfell Tower on a bonfire, British police said on Tuesday.

The residential block went up in flames last year, claiming the lives of at least 72 people in what was Britain's worst residential fire since World War II.

"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 police headquarters said in a statement.

The men, aged 19, 46, 49, 49, and 55, were arrested after handing themselves in at a south London police station late Monday.

The video clip, posted online, showed a large effigy marked "Grenfell Tower", complete with brown paper figures at the windows, being set ablaze on a bonfire. Raucous laughter can be heard.

In the video, onlookers can be heard saying: "Help me! Help me!", and "That's what happens when they don't pay their rent."

Other onlookers say "Jump out the window" and "All the little ninjas getting it". Those who died in the devastating blaze were overwhelmingly Arab, African or Muslim.

The Grenfell United organisation for survivors and the bereaved, tweeted: "It's a disgusting video."

"Not only is it extremely upsetting to survivors and people who lost family, it's hateful and offensive to everyone that has been affected."

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan condemned the "sickening" video, describing the Grenfell Tower fire as one of the most "devastating tragedies" London has ever suffered.

British Prime Minister Theresa May tweeted: "To disrespect those who lost their lives at Grenfell Tower, as well as their families and loved ones, is utterly unacceptable."

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.

The video provoked outrage online, with social media users pointing out the heavily racist and Islamophobic tone.

Bonfires are traditional in Britain around 5 November, recalling a foiled plot to blow up parliament in 1605. Effigies of plotter Guy Fawkes are burned on the fire.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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