Socialist Worker

Protest at Downing Street demands justice for Grenfell

by Alistair Farrow
Issue No. 2659

Taking the fight to the Tories

Taking the fight to the Tories (Pic: Socialist Worker)


Up to a thousand people joined a march on Saturday to demand justice for the 72 people who died in the Grenfell Tower fire.

They were also demanding real action over rehousing those displaced by the fire and quick action over safety work for the thousands of homes that have been revealed as unsafe.

It congregated outside Downing Street and was organised by the Justice4Grenfell campaign group.

Saturday’s protest followed the monthly silent walk on Friday night to commemorate those who died on 14 June 2017.

Moyra Samuels from Justice4Grenfell told Socialist Worker, “Yesterday we mourned, today we fight. There has been slow progress in anything that looks like real change or justice.

“The survivors have been engaging with the government and have seen little success in making them move. When we have seen the Tories shift it has been when wider layers of people have got involved.”

“The only way to shift the government is through a social movement that involves everyone in this country,” said Moyra.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn sent a message of solidarity, which was read out by Yvette Williams from Justice4Grenfell.

“We will not stand by while working class people live in fear for their own lives,” the message read.

Those responsible have still not been held to account. We must ensure that the powerful stop ignoring working class voices to ensure that nothing like Grenfell can ever happen again.”

People travelled from across the country to attend the protest. Justice4Grenfell had put a call out to trade unionists to come and bring their banners.

FBU banners were prominent from all across Britain, alongside ones from Hackney NUT, London Met Unison, Dundee TUC, London Magazine NUJ, London and Eastern Unite and Greenwich and Bexley TUC.

There were also banners from Islington North Labour Party and housing campaign Homes for All and Southwark Hands Off Our Homes.

Drive

Firefighter Sean from Humberside spoke to Socialist Worker about what trade unionists can do to drive the fight for justice forwards.

“We can raise awareness, educate workers, and get the labour movement moving a bit more,” he said.

He went on to point out the connections between the fight for justice for Grenfell and the attacks the Tories are launching on ordinary people. “Everyone’s under pressure from the Tories at the moment,” he said. “They’ve cut the fire service by about 50 percent since 2010.

“We’ve seen fire inspectors cut savagely—there’s about half the amount of inspectors there used to be.”

These cuts open the door to the privatised, deregulated fire safety industry to step in and fill the gap. That includes figures such as Carl Stokes, the inspector who signed the Grenfell Tower off as safe.

Speakers at the protest included Nour-eddine Aboudihaj from the Grenfell Trust bereaved group.

“Sometimes words fail me,” he said. “I’m very sad at the catalogue of failures people have been subjected to.

“The government has failed them, the local authority has failed them. The only people who have supported them are the local community and people like you,” he said.

Jim Malone from Dundee TUC and Labour Party told Socialist Worker why a delegation had travelled down for the demo. “We’re here to deliver a message of solidarity,” he said.

“Those that caused this atrocity need to be held to account, including our likely next prime minister Boris Johnson. He presided over savage cuts to the London Fire Brigade. He needs to be in the crosshairs of working class people everywhere."


Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'


Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.