A fire at a house party at 439 New Cross Road on 17 January 1981 killed 14 young people. Many suspected the fire had been caused by an arson attack, this being a common form of racist attack on black Londoners in the 1970s and 1980s. Initial police reports appeared to confirm this suspicion, but the police later rowed back on this theory, and parents and supporters of those killed blamed the police for failing to pursue the line of enquiry. At the same time, the national press largely ignored the tragedy, as did the government, despite a similar tragedy in Dublin some days previously gaining letters of consolation from both the Queen and the Prime Minister. In reponse to this lack of action and care, black activists organized the New Cross Massacre Action Committee, and arranged a demonstration to march from New Cross to the Houses of Parliament. This demonstration, occuring on 2 March 1981, was the biggest demonstration of black politics in Britain to date, bringing an estimated 15-20,000 marchers onto the streets.