UK: 5 held over video of burning Grenfell tower effigy

By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal

LONDON (AA) – Five men have been arrested in relation to a video that shows a group of people burning an effigy of Grenfell Tower, where 72 people died in one of the UK’s worst fire disasters, British police said.

“The men, aged 49, 19, 46, 55 and 49, were arrested under section 4a of the Public Order Act after they handed themselves in to a south London police station at 22.00hrs on Monday, 5 November,” according to a statement by the Metropolitan Police.

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

The video caused public outcry and harsh criticism from politicians, activists and aid organizations as it shows a group of people laughing and making jokes about the inferno that killed dozens of mostly Muslim residents.

Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary James Brokenshire also condemned the video on Twitter.

“Have just become aware of the sickening video depicting the burning of an effigy of the Grenfell Tower on a bonfire,” Brokenshire tweeted.

“Utterly disgusting & those responsible should be ashamed of their actions, which are beneath contempt.

“At a time when the bereaved and survivors are giving testimony to the Grenfell Inquiry and reliving the unimaginable horror of that tragedy, it beggars belief that anyone should do this,” Brokenshire said later in a government statement.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid also described the video as “disgusting, shameful behavior”.

“These people are a disgrace,” he wrote on Twitter.

Also condemning the video on Twitter, London Mayor Sadiq Khan urged social media companies to “do the right thing” and remove the content immediately.

– Investigation

In a separate statement, the Metropolitan Police said the Grenfell Tower investigation team was making inquiries into the video.

“I am frankly appalled by the callous nature of the video posted online,” said Commander Stuart Cundy, who is leading the investigation into the Grenfell Tower fire.

He added that the team was taking the matter very seriously and any offences that have been committed would be fully investigated.

– Grenfell Tower fire

The final death toll in one of the worst fire disasters in the U.K. is 72, including 18 children and a stillborn baby, according to the British police.

The June 14 fire, which cost the lives of scores of mostly Muslim residents, was blamed on a faulty fridge, according to reports.

The blaze spread quickly due to the building's cladding, which was thought to have worked as an accelerator.

A public inquiry ordered by May and a police inquiry are still underway to determine the cause of the disaster and the reasons for the high death toll.