Ghouls of Grenfell
Chinese tour group stops to take pictures near site of tragedy that killed 80
CHINESE tourists have been branded ‘disgusting’ for taking photos in front of the blackened shell of Grenfell Tower.
The latest example of ‘disaster tourism’ at the scene of the tragedy, in which around 80 died in June, came when a coach tour made an unauthorised stop.
The tourists were spotted streaming out of the blue bus supplied by BM Coaches and taking photos of the west London tower before being driven away.
Witness John Gregory, who confronted the coach driver during the incident on Wednesday, said: ‘He said that they are health and safety experts from China.
‘Surely there are enough photographs on the internet of the tower that they don’t have to come in busloads to take photos of it?’
The tour guide responsible has been sent home to China in disgrace and the driver of the coach suspended after the visit was condemned by angry locals.
Moyra Samuels, of the Justice4Grenfell campaign, said: ‘If people want to use someone else’s grief as a tourist attraction, what can we do?
‘It’s insensitive and upsetting for the survivors.
‘Human beings are becoming extremely insensitive.
‘This is not disaster porn and people need to develop a bit of respect. Today we are burying three people from the tragedy. People need to remember this is a community still grieving.’
Meanwhile, the visitors’ behaviour was described as ‘disgusting’ on a Facebook page dedicated to victims of the tragedy.
Siobhan Piner wrote: ‘I cannot understand the morbidity of wanting a photo.
‘If you go there, it’s to pay your respects and reflect on the tragedy, not to take photos.’
Adrian Palmer added: ‘It’s a site for experiencing the sheer terror and needless suffering of so many people.
‘You only have to see the pictures of the children who lost their futures to realise that it is to be treated with respect, not as a tourist attraction.’ In recent weeks Japanese tourists have also been seen visiting the area and using Grenfell Tower as a backdrop for photographs.
Local residents have even resorted to putting up signs asking members of the public not to photograph the remains of the building.
One placed on a metal fence reads: ‘Stop taking pictures please. Stop taking selfies. Not a tourist attraction.’
During this year’s Notting Hill Carnival, police formed a protective ‘ring of care’ around the tower to ensure revellers showed ‘respect’ for the site in Kensington.
Coach supplier BM Coaches, of Hayes, west London, confirmed the stop at Grenfell Tower was not an authorised part of a London tour itinerary and has made a donation to the official Grenfell Fund by way of an apology.
Operations director James Buckingham said: ‘I would like to apologise most sincerely… for the insensitive actions of the group we were contracted to supply transportation to.
‘The company will take the strongest possible action against the driver involved.’
At least 80 people, including 18 children, perished in the blaze on June 14.
‘Upsetting for survivors’
Disaster tourist: A visitor takes a selfie with Grenfell Tower in the background
Plea to stop: Sign put up by a resident