ON TUESDAY 14th December exactly four years and six months since the Grenfell Tower inferno campaigners stepped up their demand for justice.
Grenfell Community Campaigners protested outside the Celotex Factory in Hadleigh, Ipswich, in their fight for justice for victims, survivors and bereaved.
Celotex materials were used in the Grenfell Tower where 72 people, including 18 children, died in the fire at that broke out four and a half years ago.
Grenfell Community Campaigners were at the Celotex Factory on Tuesday, causing disruptive protest and demanding justice. Justice means jail time for those who are culpable
Celotex manufactured the highly flammable insulation, which was a primary factor in the atrocious fire at Grenfell Tower.
The Grenfell Community Campaigners said: ‘We are the Grenfell Community Campaigners and we are at the Celotex factory in Ipswich this morning on the four and a half year anniversary of Grenfell where Celotex materials blazed in the most atrocious fire in Grenfell Tower, North Kensington.
‘We will be here for two hours protesting. Anyone in the Ipswich area who is able to join us, please do so.
‘Celotex produced the foam insulation which was one of the major products which led to the fire spreading, the release of toxic gases including hydrogen cyanide and subsequent death of 72 people, including 18 children.
‘The Public Inquiry into the fire revealed that Celotex rigged fire tests and therefore the fire certification.
‘One of the executives, it was shared in the recent inquiry, said by email that he “didn’t give a f***” that they knew Celotex was highly flammable and toxic, and letting off cyanide fumes.
‘The Grenfell Community campaigners believe that the time is now to prosecute those responsible for the murder of those who needlessly perished in Grenfell Tower. We want justice.
‘Justice for the Grenfell community means that those who are responsible for the 72 deaths are charged and spend time in jail, and are not just fined. There must be jail time, for those that knew the insulation was highly flammable and did nothing about it.
‘The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill went through the Report Stage of the Seconding Reading in the Lords on Monday.
‘If the Bill is passed, it will severely curtail the rights of all protesters, including Fire Safety Justice campaigners.
‘Meanwhile, desperation amongst leaseholders grows as no end is in sight for cladding misery, now four and a half years on from Grenfell.’
Meanwhile, following a series of successful sales office protests, Action for Fire Safety Justice campaigners in the Caspian Quarter, Barking Riverside and Marconi in Chelmsford, have forced developers Bellway to make a U-turn and cover all remediation costs in full, despite them having no legal grounds to do so.
Campaigners said: The draconian Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is going through the report stage of the second reading in the Lords today (Monday 13th).
‘If passed, it could mean the most serious curtailment of freedom seen since the Second World War.
‘Since the last reading in the Commons, Priti Patel has added 18 pages of amendments – a terrifying demonstration of how fragile our freedoms and democratic system is.
‘Here are some of the impacts that the Bill will have if passed with all amendments
- Any protest causing a “serious disturbance”, or that is deemed ‘too noisy’ could be banned
• “Locking on” to people, objects or land (an effective protest tool used across the world) will become punishable by a 51-week prison term
- Police will have the power to use stop and search “without suspicion” in protest contexts
- Named protesters can be banned from future attending protests.’
Action for Fire Safety Justice campaigner Chloe Waite is so concerned that she chained herself to Westminster Gates on Monday 13th December, with the support of three affected leaseholders, to draw attention to what the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill could mean for her fellow leaseholders and activists.
She said: ‘I’ve chosen to take this action today and risk my own freedom because I strongly feel that the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is hugely dangerous, and will curtail the rights of ordinary people to stand up to injustice.
‘I have seen firsthand the misery that the cladding scandal is having on leaseholders across the country.
‘We’ve already seen one suicide – a man who couldn’t cope with receiving a £50,000 bill.
‘Many more leaseholders are receiving bills of five and six figure sums and the government is not doing enough to protect us, so we have to protect ourselves.
‘It’s essential that our right to peaceful, disruptive protest is protected as disruptive protest (such as our sales office protests) is the only protest that works.
‘I have seen first-hand the power of peaceful protest. The government is seeking to take away our power as people and we should all be very concerned about what this means for our future.’
On the Tuesday evening a crowd of over over 500 marched from Kensington Town Hall in a silent walk to the Grenfell Tower.
At a rally near the tower, Karim Mussilhy from Grenfell United said: ‘Today we are changing our tone, we are demanding change, enough is enough!
‘For four and a half years we have suffered and delayed justice to learn the lessons’
‘The evidence has been laid bare, Grenfell was no accident, the system isn’t broke, it was built this way.
’Suspects have destroyed evidence, crime can’t be one rule for them and one for us.’
‘I am a leaseholder from Barking where hundreds of flats are covered in flammable cladding.
‘We demonstrated outside the builders, Bellway Homes in May. Our campaign spiralled to 17 locations around the country in June.
‘Repeated sales office protests forced Bellway to U-turn.’