Grenfell: Protesters 'silent' march as UK reveals inquiry terms

Silent march for Grenfell fire victims as UK government reveals terms of inquiry
3 min read
15 August, 2017
Hundreds of people marched silently to remember the victims of the Grenfell fire on Monday, as the government confirmed the terms of reference in the upcoming inquiry.
Hundreds of protesters took part in a silent march through the west London neighbourhood [AFP]

Hundreds of people marched silently through a west London neighbourhood on Monday, where a devastating fire in June left at least 80 people dead, as the government confirmed it will not investigate broader questions of social housing policy in the upcoming inquiry.

Around 300 people gathered in the shadow of the blackened Grenfell Tower, destroyed by an inferno so fierce that authorities suggest prevents some victims from ever being identified.

Marchers passed by hundreds of ‘missing person’ posters before finishing at a makeshift memorial wall just outside the Lancaster West estate where the tower stands.

Some people carried banners reading "Justice for Grenfell", while others lit candles.

One of the marchers, Clarrie Mendy, said she lost two relatives in the fire, including artist Khadija Saye who had lived on the 20th floor of the 24-storey tower.

"That's why I'm here today. To be part of a community, support, to ensure justice prevails and in honour of my relatives," she told AFP.

At least 80 people are believed to have been killed in the fire, but a final death toll is not expected for months as police continue their search of the building.

Investigators said they will use 6mm sieves to pick up fragments such as bones and teeth, but police have already admitted it may be impossible to identify all of those who died.

The pace of the probe and the handling of the disaster by the local authority has led to anger within the community - a working-class and poorer enclave from within one of Britain's richest districts.

Judy Bolton, who took part in the march, said there had been no tension and the rally was aimed at "letting the world know we are still here".

"I don't want the world to forget it, don't want the nation, the country, to forget it could happen to them also."

The march came as Downing Street confirmed the public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire is set to examine the actions of the local Kensington and Chelsea council, but will not address broader questions of social housing policy, as per decision of the inquiry chair, Sir Martin Moore-Bick.

“The terms of reference set out by Sir Martin address crucial issues such as the cause of the fire and the adequacy of building and fire regulations, which will allow the inquiry to get to the truth of what happened and learn the lessons to stop a similar catastrophe happening in the future,” British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Tuesday.

“I am determined that the broader questions raised by this fire – including around social housing – are not left unanswered.”

The latest comments are expected to upset the survivors of the tragic fire, who have previously threatened to boycott the review should it not be considered broad enough to cover “systemic issues”.

Last month, a group of survivors wrote a list of demands which included removing Moore-Bick from the inquiry.

The first preliminary hearing into the cause of the fire and the events which led to it is due to take place on September 14, which marks the third month anniversary of the inferno.