Theresa May chased away by Grenfell Tower protesters

Saturday June 17 2017

A protester stands with a placard outside the

A protester stands with a placard outside the Department for Communities and Local Government in central London on June 16, 2017 to demand justice for those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire. PHOTO | TOLGA AKMEN | AFP 

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A large police presence held back angry crowds outside a Kensington church where Theresa May was meeting victims of the Grenfell Tower disaster.

The British prime minister faced cries of "coward" and "shame on you".

One woman wept, saying it was because the PM declined to speak to anyone outside the meeting which lasted less than hour.

Mrs May pledged £5m of support, housing guarantees and help with access to bank accounts and cash.

"The package of support I'm announcing today is to give the victims the immediate support they need to care for themselves and for loved ones. We will continue to look at what more needs to be done," Mrs May said in a statement issued by her office.

Dozens of demonstrators surged towards the entrance of St Clement's church and there were scuffles outside as organisers appealed for calm.

Earlier on Friday, the prime minister spent almost an hour speaking to patients and staff at London's Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

It came a day after she faced criticism for meeting firefighters but not residents at the scene of the blaze. She also chaired the government's Civil Contingencies Committee, which deals with major crises such as terrorism or natural disasters, in Whitehall.

But local people have contrasted the style of Mrs May's private visit to the scene with those of London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who was seen with his arm around the shoulders of people affected by the disaster.