Thousands of residents of Russia’s Kemerovo have taken part a spontaneous rally near the building of the regional administration in the wake of the tragedy in Winter Cherry shopping mall.
According to official data, 64 people died in Sunday’s blaze, including 8 children.
People are demanding that Russian authorities tell the truth about the fire — the best part of them have questioned the official report; they believe that facts and figures are being hushed up. According to the relatives, the death toll may reach 300-400 persons, including 41 children. The protesters are set to independently count the number of victims.
The protesters are also outraged about the poor organization of the fire-fighting operation.
When Sergei Tsivilev, Vice Governor of Kemerovo region, showed up at the meeting, the crowd started to chant “We Want Truth!”, “Resign!”, “Murderers!”. After that, those present at the rally wanted Russian president Vladimir Putin, who had arrived in Kemerovo earlier, to appear before them.
The Russian leader pledged that all those responsible for Winter Cherry shopping mall fire would be punished. According to him, the tragedy is a consequence of prevarication and disorderliness.
The fire at the shopping mall in central Kemerovo erupted on Sunday on the top floor of the four-storey building engulfing an area of some 1,500 square meters.
As fire alarm failed, the shopping centre staff had to notify visitors about the incident themselves. As a result, many people who were cut off from the way outs had to jump out of the windows. Closed fire escapes and panic escalated the situation.