Five men arrested over burning Grenfell Tower effigy

Public calls for culprits of "sickening" Bonfire Night display reenacting the Grenfell Tower fire to be charged under hate crime laws.

Lydia Morrish
Lydia Morrish NewsMavens, United Kingdom
Five men arrested over burning Grenfell Tower effigy - NewsMavens
Grenfell Tower after fire, Wikimedia Commons

Why this story matters:

Bonfire Night in Great Britain usually means positive jubilations with sparklers, fireworks and warm drinks. 

But the shenanigans reached darker levels at one party. A group of party-goers in London set alight a model of Grenfell Tower and reenacted the West London apartment block fire in which 72 people died on June 14, 2017.

"Some people have got some really bad taste," a spectator says in the video while enjoying the spectacle. People laugh throughout, while the paper model of the tower burns on a fire.

The effigy features cut-out faces of people at the windows of the tower made from brown paper, prompting condemnation at the perceived racial nature of the scene. 

Most of the victims of the fire were low-income and people of color.

The British public was taken aback by what many have said is an overt public display of insensitivity, humiliation and bigotry.

Social media users called for the culprits of the video to be charged under hate crime laws.

Five men have been arrested on suspicion of a "public order offence" over the video after reportedly handing themselves in to south London police.

London's Metropolitan Police said the men, who are between the ages of 19 and 55, had been detained as part of an investigation into the video.

Details from the story:

  • A group of party-goers set a light a model of Grenfell Tower for Bonfire Night, while onlookers laughed and cheered.
  • A video of the scene has been shared widely on social media, to condemnation from the public.
  • It prompted an outcry, calling for the culprits to be charged with a hate crime.
  • Campaign group Justice 4 Grenfell said in a statement that the footage had caused "great alarm and distress... We are disgusted and shocked at the inhumanity and callousness of those involved in this video."
  • Labour Party MP David Lammy said in a tweet that the show made him feel "physically sick".
  • British Prime Minister called the display "utterly unacceptable".
  • Five men have been arrested on suspicion of a public order offence over the video.
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