Intense protests against London officials over the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy continue, in the streets and even online. One of the organizers of such protests was once arrested on suspicion of terrorism-linked offenses.
Aside from organizing demonstrators who stormed the Kensington Town Hall on Friday, businessman Mustafa al-Mansur also launched a campaign on popular social media platform Facebook pushing people affected by the fire to gather at council offices. The 39-year-old known supporter of Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn discovered that a family friend of his had also died in the horrific tragedy.
Mansur is known as a “slick political campaigner” with his ardent support of Corbyn. His brother also stood as an independent candidate in East London for last week’s election.
Mansur explained that he decided to organize the protest because he was devastated and angry to discover that his friend, Rania Ibrahim, a resident on the 23rd floor of Grenfell Tower, had died, too.
Mansur had been arrested a decade ago by the Metropolitan Police on suspicion of terrorism offenses. He was later released without charge, and he claimed afterward that he had been detained only because his fingerprints had been found on a book about improvised explosive devices (IEDS) which he said was owned by a Bosnian associate.
Mansur currently works with several community groups with the goal of improving race relations. He is also the vice-chairman of the Association of Multicultural Communities. He also works with young people from black and ethnic minority groups.
He openly expresses his support for Corbyn, even hitting conservatives. He wrote on his Facebook page: “Conservative supporters wish and dream that their leaders had an ounce of Jeremy Corbyn’s impeccable character, dignity, and principled politics.
Mansur said he was pushed to do something because he felt the victims of the disaster were being let down by those in power. He said that their family friend Rania Ibrahim was on the 23rd floor with her two children. She was an Egyptian national, and she gave updates to family and friends via WhatsApp while the fire was raging. She shared that she was told by the police to go back inside her unit. She complied and even invited people on her floor to come in, too. Mansur said she “live-broadcasted” her ordeal until her phone died down.
Mansur is blaming government officials for the public’s growing anger over the tragedy. He said the answers being provided by council officers were “flimsy.”