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Grenfell Tower: Hundreds gather for march outside Kensington and Chelsea council eight months after tragedy

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 15/02/2018 0:29:34 Martin Coulter

Hundreds of people gathered outside Kensington and Chelsea Council before setting off on a silent walk to Grenfell Tower eight months on from the fire.

a group of people in a store © Provided by Independent Print Limited

Loved ones of those who died and members of the local community braved the rain to hold aloft Grenfell banners, green hearts and photos of loved ones as they formed a square outside the council building in Kensington.

Some 71 people died in the tower block blaze, which took place on June 14 last year.

At 6pm on Wednesday, as darkness fell, the procession set off in silence, a sea of supporters of all ages stretching from the council to the main high street.

Zeyad Cred, who has lived in the area for decades and was tasked with organising the monthly silent walks, said it was an opportunity to "show the powers that be that we are not going anywhere at all, this will continue to grow, we will continue to unite".

All previous marches were held in the neighbourhood surrounding the charred remains of the tower, with Wednesday's march the first to start outside the local council.

He said: "The main reason for the route change is to spread that message of peace and unity to the other part of the borough.

"We found ourselves marching right past the tower for the past seven months or so, it was time for a change.

"It was more for a statement as well."

The council has neglected not just Grenfell survivors but the entire community, never as much as in the last eight months, so it's more a show of unity, that we're not going anywhere and will remain dignified and growing in numbers."

He said it had been "beautiful" to see familiar faces stick with the march from summer and through the colder winter months, and that thousands had attended the last event.

He went on: "The most important thing with the silent walks is that it stays peaceful, it represents how we are as a people of North Kensington, and it's not my place to say who can and who can't come.

"If Grenfell has affected anybody in any way or form, we ask you to come stand with us.

"We have MPs who walk with us, we have musicians who walk with us, but during the walk itself everybody's kind of neutralised, no-one's more significant than the other, everyone's at an equal level.

"So if there were representatives of the council who felt that they would join and walk alongside, by all means.

"We would never stop anyone from joining us, as long as they're joining in peace and unity."

Labour MP Diane Abbott joined the march. She tweeted: "Massive Grenfell silent walk procession from Kensington town hall through local streets [eight] months on to remember all those who died in the fire."

A march is also being held in Manchester to mark the anniversary, led by evacuees from the block next to the tower.

Organised by Greater Manchester Association of Trades Union Councils and community groups, attendees will observe a minute's silence.

Additional reporting by the Press Association

15. helmikuuta 2018 2:29:34 Categories: Evening Standard

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