By Alistair Farrow
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Thousands march to remember those who died in Grenfell Tower

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Issue 2659
On the silent march
On the silent march (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Thousands of people joined the monthly silent walk to remember those who died in the Grenfell Tower fire on its second anniversary on Friday.

Two years since the fire and some people displaced by the fire remain living in hotels. Two years and tens of thousands are living in unsafe buildings. Two years and justice has not been achieved.

At the beginning of the silent walk people listened to prayers and songs including the civil rights anthem A Change Is Gonna Come.

By far the biggest response was to the most political speech – from local activist and rapper Lowkey.

“We will not betray the dead,” he said, describing the fire as “black snow on a summer’s night” and the remains of the tower as a “tombstone in the sky blocking out our horizon.”

“We will not be satisfied with platitudes,” he said, attacking the inquiry into the fire.


Deborah Coles from the Inquest campaigning legal organisation echoed his criticism of the public inquiry headed up by Sir Martin Moore-Bick.

She told Socialist Worker, “I’m here to stand in solidarity with the community, but also to raise concerns that it’s two years on from the fire and we’re still waiting for those responsible to be held accountable.”

She also slammed the inquiry into the fire as having “not even produced interim recommendations. It’s a poor reflection of the investigation process.”

Local resident Akil agreed, saying, “More needs to be done by the public inquiry.”

He also pointed to the monthly silent walk as a positive way of bringing people together. “This wouldn’t happen every month without ordinary people organising it.”

Firefighters  took part
Firefighters took part (Pic: FBU on Twitter)

Speaking to the crowd, Karim from Grenfell United said, “Those responsible for ruining our lives walk free like nothing has happened.

“Two years on and we’re still neglected and abandoned by the government.

“We also have to think about the system. The system was made this way – to keep the rich up there and the poor down here.

Grenfell—two years without justice
Grenfell—two years without justice
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“We should be treated with respect, regardless of our accommodation or our skin colour or nationality.”

Rapper Akala said, “This tragedy was not an accident. It was the product of a philosophy that says some lives have value and some don’t.

“People were warned but people ignored those messages.

“Is adequate fire safety really a radical demand?”

The silent marches are a powerful way of remembering the 72 people who died as a result of the fire.

There must also be a political response that calls for the people in the Tory party responsible for degrading building safety over many years to be held accountable.

Ordinary people travelled from across Britain to come on the march to pay their respects, but also to demand justice and real change. They were joined by rapper Stormzy and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

There were banners from campaign groups and trade unions including the FBU firefighters’ union, Hammersmith and Fulham Trades Council, Dundee Trades Council and Barnet Unison.

The battle for justice continues.

Join the solidarity demonstration, Saturday 15 June, 12 noon, Downing Street, London.

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