Thousands of protesters are expected to march on Downing Street in a so-called “day of rage” to oppose Theresa May’s government.
The demonstration, organised by Movement for Justice By Any Means Necessary (MFJ), will see protesters march along Whitehall at 1pm on Wednesday in an effort to “bring down the Government”.
It comes on the day Prime Minister Theresa May sets out her legislative programme for the next two years in a Queen’s Speech expected to be dominated by Brexit.
Referencing the Grenfell Tower fire and “brutal austerity, cuts and anti-immigrant attacks”, the description on the MFJ event page reads: “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.
“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.”
Organisers are seeking the permanent right to remain in the UK for all Grenfell Tower residents, and for survivors to take over unoccupied flats in Kensington and Chelsea. But one group helping residents of the tower said “they do not want their grief hijacked”.
Attendees have been urged to keep their activities peaceful, amid concerns the disaster may be appropriated for violent means.
The Clement James Centre, which has been helping Grenfell residents, said: “There has been a ‘Day of Rage’ announced for Wednesday, trying to bring London to a standstill.
“We cannot emphasise 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.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said: “To everyone planning on demonstrating against Theresa May’s Government over the next few weeks, it is vital that these protests are peaceful.”
He told Sky News: “You can be angry. I’m angry about what’s going on in my constituency. … But you can’t translate that into violence.
“Any protest has got to be peaceful, otherwise, to be frank, what you do is you’re not just stretching the emergency services but also you undermine your own cause.”
Stand Up To Racism has organised a demo for 6pm called: “Protest the Queen’s speech – no to May/DUP racism & bigotry!”
London Socialist Party is hosting a Facebook event called “May Must Go! Protest the Queen’s Speech” which is scheduled for 4pm.
MFJ was criticised on social media for urging people in a leaflet to “walk out of school, take the day off, call in sick, strike…” in order to attend.
An alternative hashtag, #DayofWork, circulated on Twitter as users also mocked the planned protest by using its original tag in mundane or comical messages.
One said: “#DayOfRage Buzzing for Day of Rage is it on PS4 hoping it’s as good as the Mega Drive original Streets of Rage”. Another said: “Enough of this unrelenting heat. Someone organise a protest march outside the Met Office at 2pm. #SummerSolstice #DayofRage”.
Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith — re-elected this month by just 45 votes after standing, unsuccessfully, as an independent in a byelection and failing in his bid for the London mayoralty — tweeted: “#DayOfRage – just what our emergency services need right now.”
The term “day of rage” was used to refer to large protests during the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011. It has also been used by the Islamist group Hamas when it calls for demonstrations, which have resulted in violence in the past.
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