Since the reopening of Villagio two days ago, many Doha residents who have visited the mall have tried to remember the 19 people who were killed in the fire there.
Many have left floral tributes and teddy bears near the site of Gympanzee, the children’s daycare centre where 13 children, four teachers and two firefighters died of smoke inhalation.
It seems, however, that these tributes are being removed.
Doha resident Kelly, who visited the mall yesterday, told Doha News:
“I put some flowers down yesterday morning on the gondola, by Zara. I was mortified to hear later on yesterday afternoon that all tributes were being removed! It is utterly disgraceful and unacceptable that this is being done.”
Kelly also told us that she feels people are being disrespectful near the fire site, which has been closed off from the rest of the mall by a partition with a mural painted on it.
“When I went to lay the flowers, a number of people were posing in front of the wall mural, standing on the gondola, having their pictures taken – which I think is in very bad taste indeed. Why have Villagio made a feature out of something which should in itself act as a reminder of May’s fire and devastating loss of life!? Surely they could have shown that they have an ounce of compassion just erecting a simple white wall.”
Jane Weekes, mother of the 2 year old triplets who died in the fire, expressed her unhappiness at the removal of the tributes on Facebook this morning.
“Floral tributes placed at Villaggio Mall to remember the 13 children, 4 teachers and 2 firefighters killed there on the 28th of May are being removed immediately by mall staff. Shame on you for your inhumanity.”
When asked about the removal of memorial tributes today, Villagio management did not comment.
But an employee there tells us that management has been discouraging of the practice of laying tributes at the mall.
Credit: Photo taken at 9:40am this morning outside Gate 4 entrance (next to food court and closest to the source of the fire, the Nike store) courtesy of a Villagio employee, who asked to remain anonymous. We are told tributes have been removed from this site.