Socialist Worker

Protests planned for key Grenfell dates

by Alistair Farrow
Issue No. 2603

Justice 4 Grenfell keeping the pressure up

Justice 4 Grenfell keeping the pressure up (Pic: Justice 4 Grenfell)


The public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire could last well into 2020.

That’s according to one of the lawyers representing the bereaved and survivors of the fire.

The shocking news raises concerns that dragging the inquiry out could be designed to allow people’s anger to subside.

It’s vital that isn’t allowed to happen.

On 16 June, the Saturday after the one year anniversary of the fire, Justice4Grenfell and the FBU firefighters’ union are backing a solidarity march at Downing Street.

And during last week’s local election votes, Justice4Grenfell projected a message of solidarity onto Kensington and Chelsea Town Hall.

The timetable of the inquiry was announced recently.

The initial stage of the inquiry will deal with the immediate causes of the fire and events on the night. It will take about six months and is expected to conclude in November.

Decisions

Two weeks of testimony from survivors and the families of the dead will open the inquiry. The later stage of the inquiry will look at wider issues of responsibility, but not at top level decisions that allowed the Grenfell Tower fire to happen.

It will look at the immediate decisions relating to the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower that saw the building clad in flammable material.

A protest has been called outside parliament for next Monday to coincide with a parliamentary motion about the fire. The motion demands a decision-making panel is appointed alongside the chair, Sir Martin Moore-Bick.

Theresa May has already rejected calls for a panel.

The parliamentary motion is a result of a ­survivor-initiated petition that was helped over the requisite 100,000 mark by a tweet from rapper Stormzy.

“We also want to remind the prime minister of our petition for a panel of decision-making experts to sit beside and support Sir Martin Moore-Bick,” said survivors’ group Grenfell United.

“Without a panel, we risk a loss of confidence in the inquiry.”

Publicity for Monday’s demonstration and silent walk has been jointly circulated by Justice4Grenfell and ­Grenfell United.

In Bradford a silent walk has been organised in solidarity with people marching in London.

Next month will mark one year since the fire.

Still people wait to be rehoused, still the guilty—Tory ministers, councillors and redevelopment bosses—walk free.

Former lead councillor for housing in Kensington and Chelsea, Rock ­Fielding-Mellen, was ­re-elected at last week’s local election.

The inquiry will never point the finger at most of those responsible, let alone all of them.

Some 304 high rise buildings with cladding similar to that on Grenfell have failed the government’s tests.

Of these, 158 were social housing blocks. Of the 158, just seven have had remedial work to remove cladding completed—another 104 are undergoing the work.

Part of the campaign for justice must be the demands that the guilty are held to account and building safety must no longer be treated as an inconvenience to avoid.

Campaigners and survivors are uniting in a powerful campaign to fight for justice.

That must be bold, militant and unafraid in demanding the truth where the establishment’s public inquiry fails to tell the truth.

Details of 14 May events here and 16 June demonstration here

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