‘There must be prosecutions, there’s got to be accountability’ says Manchester FBU

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The 6th Anniversary March remains determined that those who lost their lives will never be forgotten and are demanding those responsible are prosecuted

WEDNESDAY was the 6th anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire when 72 tenants and residents of Kensington and Chelsea perished in their homes on the 14th of June 2017.

There was a silent walk of more than 6,000 people on Wednesday around the tower.

There were loads of firefighters from all over the country.

Jason Snowden from Manchester FBU told News Line: ‘Six of us have come from Manchester today to show solidarity with our fellow firefighters and to support the local community.

‘There must be prosecutions, there’s got to be accountability. The politicians are the ones who signed things off and allowed businesses to cut corners.’

Andrew Fox-Hewitt north west FBU regional official said: ‘We’ve got 18 from North West, we’re here for two reasons, to support the community in their fight for justice and also to raise awareness that six years on there are still thousands of families living in homes wrapped in unsafe flammable cladding.

‘They are doubly suffering in a catch 22 situation, living in an unsafe home and unable to sell it and move on.

‘Six years on no one has been held accountable for the event. Who should be held accountable?

‘In my opinion central government which has deregulated our industry – that’s protection and enforcement of fire safety matters – and secondly local government who refused to listen to the many concerns raised by those tenants in this community, and then the firms that have been exposed as having submitted different products for testing and then used other materials on the buildings.’

Andy Murray from Durham FBU said: ‘We’re here in solidarity with the fight going on for justice for Grenfell.

‘The Tories think it’s in the past but it is not it is in the present and the future too.

‘I 100% believe in a general strike – throw the Tories out. If they are allowed to carry on then we will lose everything – all public services.’

Event Manager Carly Owen, who lives 300 yards from the tower, said: ‘Justice for the people we lost and for the firefighters who were wrongly accused of not doing their jobs properly.

‘I watched it. I lost friends in there. I absolutely want prosecutions and jailings of those responsible.’

Sue Southerley, a musician, said: ‘I woke up on the morning of June the 14th 2017 in disbelief and horror at what had happened during the night.

‘I heard there was going to be a demonstration outside the ministry of housing in Marsham Street that night. I am horrified that no one is being held accountable.

‘This is not really tragic. Tragedy is a force of nature, but this was not a force of nature. There were people responsible and they must be held to account.

‘Those responsible were the local and national government who were warned of these dangers but as far as they were concerned these lives were not of any value.’

Saya and Ella were carrying a banner saying: ‘Crime scene, six years.’ Saya said: ‘I want those responsible to be punished and no more unsafe buildings.

‘It’s one thing to punish people who have done this, but it’s further punishment if we keep making unsafe homes.’

Ella said: ‘There was criminal negligence. Big corporations turned their backs on immigrant workers and black and brown communities.

‘As the sign says the Tories have got blood on their hands and nobody, particularly no children, should die in their homes.’

Jeremy Corbyn, former Labour Party leader, said: ‘Six years on and the pain, trauma and devastation of people’s lives remains.

‘The questions of profit, danger and cladding elsewhere still remain unanswered. Prosecutions must follow.’

At the end of the silent walk there were large screens set up and the rally started with the reading of the names of the 72 victims, with their pictures placed on screens, along with messages from their relatives and friends.

Hashim read a poem in memory of his brother Muhammad and all those who died. The poem was Stop the Clocks by WH Auden.

Marcio Gomez, whose son died in the fire, told the rally: ‘72 died at the hands of corruption and greed. Grenfell is an emblem of corruption of our government both local and national.

‘For six years we’ve been dealing with a government that simply doesn’t care. You can try to silence us, but we will not stop until justice is served.’

Marcia Rigg, from the United Families and Friends Campaign, told the rally: ‘I’m the sister of Sean Rigg, who was killed by Brixton Police.

‘The system has been set up in such a way that it leaves bereaved families with no justice.

‘Please join us on the last Saturday in October when we March from Trafalgar Square to Downing Street. Join us as we are here with you today, marching to Downing Street.

‘Families bare their souls to numerous inquiries on the loss of our loved ones and our evidence is ignored.

‘We demand truth, justice and change, for ourselves and for future generations.

‘Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, join us on the last Saturday of October and we will march together in solidarity.’

Karim, from Grenfell United, closed the rally, saying: ‘The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea favour money above anything else. Our families died because of their greed. The system has discriminated against us for six years.

‘We have a discriminatory justice system which has one class above the law and everyone else below it.

‘We will be here every year, we will be here next year, the year after, and every year until we get Justice for Grenfell.’