Grenfell bereaved asking for signatures on inquiry petition to parliament
by Stephen Hewitt | Published 19 December 2017 | Last updated 20 December 2017
In Notting Hill on the evening of 14 December 2017 at around 8pm I saw a column of hundreds of people arriving under the A40 flyover at the end of Kingsdown Close as the destination of a silent walk, held every month since the fire at nearby Grenfell tower six months before.
Some were carrying banners which read “Justice for Grenfell We demand the truth #justice4grenfell” and many were carrying green led candles.
After observing a period of silence these people heard speeches from a platform with a public address system.
At least three different speakers appealed for signatures on a petition.
The petition on the parliament.uk website, which a few days later on 19 December had over 22,300 signatures, read: “Bereaved families & survivors call on PM to exercise her powers under the Inquiries Act 2005 to appoint additional panel members with decision making power to sit alongside Chair in Grenfell Tower Inquiry: to ensure those affected have confidence in & are willing to fully participate in the Inquiry”
The full text included that it is “fundamental” that “Legal representatives of bereaved families see all evidence from the start & are allowed to question witnesses at the hearings”.
The speaker lead the people who had arrived in a chant, repeatedly saying “justice” with the crowd echoing back “justice”. He had explained that he had decided to change the chant from a previous version which had implied there would no peace without justice.
He said: “We stand in solidarity with the survivors and with the bereaved families who walk with us and join us on this cold walk and will keep on joining us.”
“Everyone who joins us from outside of our community we thank you again.”
He said that on the Facebook group he receives messages asking whether it is acceptable for people who do not live in the area to come. “This is open to everyone”, he said.
He introduced another speaker who appealed for online signatures on a petition.
“We're aiming for a hundred thousand signatures and we need your help. A hundred thousand signatures gets us a debate in parliament. So regardless of whether they want to listen to us, they have to listen to us.”
He said that “we” started the petition about two weeks ago and it now had about 19,000 signatures.
“I was one of the people who ended up at Downing Street in the early stages of this tragedy and it was full of false promises.”
- Guardian article: Grenfell victims’ families 'should be placed at heart of inquiry' Owen Bowcott and Amelia Gentleman, Guardian, 9 December 2017
- Guardian article: Families of Grenfell Tower's missing tour hospitals in desperation Caroline Davies and Sarah Marsh, Guardian, 15 June 2017
- Guardian article: Those responsible for the horror of the Grenfell Tower fire must face trial David Lammy, Guardian, 26 December 2017