Housing

Grenfell campaigners hold Jubilee street party with empty table to remember those who died

Justice4Grenfell held the sombre street party to call for those responsible for the disaster to be held accountable ahead of the fifth anniversary.

Grenfell street party

The empty street party at the foot of Grenfell Tower. Image: Justice4Grenfell/Jeff Moore

Campaigners who lost loved ones at the Grenfell Tower fire have held an empty street party ahead of the Queen’s Jubilee to call for those responsible for the fire to face justice.

Justice4Grenfell hung bunting and laid out a table with ‘Grenfell green’ cups, napkins and Grenfell flags on Grenfell Road near the tower on Monday.

Grenfell street party
Every one of the paper plates featured the names of the 72 people who died in the disaster. Image: Justice4Grenfell/Jeff Moore

They also laid out paper plates on the table with the names of the 72 people who died in the fire. Each plate read: ‘72 dead. And still no arrests? How come?’.

But no one was seated at the table, a move that campaigners hope would inspire the nation to remember the people who died in the tragedy just weeks ahead of the fifth anniversary.

Nabil Choucair, who lost six family members in the fire, said: “I miss my family so much; we enjoyed many good times together, but they were taken from us in the worst of circumstances.

Grenfell street party
Nabil Choucair lost six members of his family in the fire. Now he is among the survivors calling for people to be held accountable. Image: Justice4Grenfell/Jeff Moore

“I can almost picture them seated at the table today, joining in the celebration. But they are not with us today. The pain is indescribable, but they are always with us in our hearts.”

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Grenfell street party
Each of the 72 place settings was left empty in memory of the people who lost their lives five years ago. Image: Justice4Grenfell/Jeff Moore

No one has been arrested in connection with the fire that shocked the nation in 2017.

The Grenfell Tower Inquiry is still ongoing. Meanwhile, the disaster has spawned a building safety crisis which has seen thousands of people across the UK threatened with homelessness and bankruptcy over the removal of flammable cladding from their buildings. 

Anger remains among Grenfell survivors and bereaved families, who have called for people found to have contributed to the disaster to face legal action.

Survivor Emma O’Connor said: “I am never not thinking of my friends and neighbours. My memory loves them, and it asks about them all the time. But I also hold on to guilt and trauma as I am here, and they are not.”

Justice 4 Grenfell group organiser Yvette Williams added: “Five years on, a toothless public inquiry and millions still trapped in their homes by flammable cladding – and still no justice.

“There have been no lessons learned and little action taken.

“As people up and down the country enjoy street parties – as they quite rightly should, we want to let the powers that be know that our community will always remember the 72 who died needlessly here that night.”

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