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Grenfell Tower memorials and marches held to mark anniversary

Firefighters' union says authorities who failed to keep residents safe should be prosecuted

A MINUTE’S silence was observed up and down the country today on the first anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire that cut short the lives of 72 people.

Survivors, the bereaved and local residents held a private memorial at the tower’s base that the public watched from a screen outside.

Decorations in green – the colour for Grenfell – covered the streets.

The Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir opened and closed the memorial with renditions of Lean On Me and Bridge Over Troubled Water.

A community mosaic was unveiled and a poem and a passage from the Koran were read out.

The names of the 72 victims — including stillborn baby Logan Gomes and Maria del Pilar Burton, who died in hospital in January — were read out before the silence.

A memorial service for bereaved families and local community members also took place at the nearby St Helen’s Church.

Bishop of Kensington Dr Graham Tomlin said: “We could identify who was responsible, we can make building regulation changes, but unless we ask some more fundamental questions about the way we relate to each other in society and how we care for one another, then we will just go back to the way we normally are.

“I think Grenfell is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to ask some really deep questions about the way we live together, the way we care for each other in society.”

Benches at the front were reserved for families of those who died, including relatives of Ali Yawar Jafari, Gary Maunders, Steve Power, Jessica Urbano-Ramirez, Ligaya Moore and the Choucair family.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) insisted that authorities and business owners who failed to keep Grenfell Tower safe should be prosecuted.

"A year after the devastation nobody has been arrested despite the obvious fact that Grenfell was a deathtrap," said FBU general secretary Matt Wrack.

Tottenham Labour MP David Lammy, who was friends with victim Khadija Saye, condemned the “little support” the government and council have provided in the wake of the tragedy.

He added: “It needs to be much, much better, we need to get those people housed, and we need to continue to support those in the north Kensington area that are deeply traumatised.”

Thousands of people — including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn — are expected to attend the silent march this evening, which has been held every month since the fire.

 

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