Local residents, campaigners and politicians have marked the third anniversary of the devastating fire that killed 72 people at London’s Grenfell Tower.
The Humanity for Grenfell group held an online, multi-faith service and a 72-second silence to remember the victims.
Many speakers called for justice for those who died as the overnight fire swept through the 24-storey, 120-home social housing block in west London.
Campaigners accused local and national authorities of allowing the installation of dangerous external cladding that became a major contributor to the rapid spread of the fire.
No. Accountability.#BorisJohnson Govt ignores our pain & responsible for 100s of thousands living in unsafe cladding blocks like #GrenfellTower
— Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu (@SholaMos1) June 14, 2020
Ambrose Mendy of Humanity for Grenfell, who lost a relative in the fire, said it still needs “enormous effort” to understand what happened three years ago.
“We refuse, come what may, to relent in our opposition to the general consensus of opinion about the Grenfell fire, how it occurred, why it occurred, and what could have been done to prevent events unfolding in the way that they did,” Mendy said.
“All of this requires truth, 100 per cent of the truth, and we know … it’s going to be a long haul.”
The ongoing Grenfell Tower Inquiry published its first report in October, highlighting “significant systemic failings” by the London Fire Brigade, including poor evacuation, command and communication procedures.
#GrenfellTower Three years on and the government report released last week shows 2000 buildings still have similar cladding.
72 people died.
This is the memorial poor, working class, and POC get when they’re victims of state violence in the UK. pic.twitter.com/M99t1KsAnm
— El Rhodes (@electra_rhodes) June 14, 2020
Fire chiefs rejected the criticism.
“While those affected by Grenfell are not able to gather in person, I want you to know that all of us in this country are with you in spirit,” Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a recorded message.
“I remain absolutely committed to uncovering the causes of this tragedy and ensuring it is never repeated,” Mr Johnson said.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick promised changes to building regulations to “ensure that nothing like this ever happens again”.
“Three years later. Still heartbreaking. Still 56,000 people living in buildings with Grenfell-style cladding. Still no #JusticeForGrenfell,” opposition Labour lawmaker David Lammy tweeted.
Another Labour lawmaker, Kim Johnson, accused the government of failing to provide sufficient funds to back its pledge to remove all unsafe cladding following the fire.
“People died as a result of unsafe cladding and systemic failure of the housing company,” she said in a video message.
“Two hundred firefighters put their lives on the line to rescue [people] and to put out the fire.”
The Grenfell Action Group, formed before the fire, said it had warned repeatedly of the risks of a “catastrophic event” at the building.