Clenching placards bearing photographs of their lost loved ones, dozens of tearful survivors of the Grenfell Tower tragedy joined still-grieving relatives outside Kensington Town Hall for a charity silent walk last Friday.
Marking 18 months since 27 people died in the tower blaze, the monthly silent walk was arranged by support group Grenfell United.
The walk started at 6.30pm and crossed the town hall, cut through Portobello Market and Lancaster Road, ending with talks, video screenings, and poetry readings at the Memorial Wall at the base of Grenfell Tower.
Grenfell United vice-chair Karim Mussilhy, 32, said the walks started as a way to give bereaved families and the local community a way to mourn and ensure what happened on June 14th 2017 never happens again.
He said: “I woke up at 6am to find out the tower where my uncle lived was on fire.
“Grenfell United came about became the people who were supposed to look after us didn’t turn up.
“We are the people that came out of the tower. We are the families that lost loved ones in the tower, we need to be the voices of those who can’t speak up.
“The reason why we are fighting it to make sure the 72 lives we lost are not only remembered for that horrific fire but for positive change.”
Residents who live near Grenfell Tower and the surrounding area regularly attend the monthly walks with local police forces cooperating to clear the route.
The walk silenced a crowd outside the Churchill Arms. It silenced a Christmas do at restaurant Kensington Place and commuters tapping in and out of Kensington High Street station paused to take photographs.
The Sun in Splendor pub silenced itself as the MC asked patrons to be quiet. A Grenfell United steward gave them a thumbs up on the way past.
In previous years, the tower been scrutinized by the Grenfell Action Group for not having safeguarding in place for a potential fire but requests for changes were ignored.
Minutes before the march began, one marcher shouted: “Everyone is using us like we’re nobody.
“Where is anybody I know? I lost everybody. No-one is here.”
Another protester who has attended the monthly marches since June said: “The walks are very bonding as they help the people that have suffered to express how they feel and not feel alone.”
After the march, as walkers sipped coffee handed out by stewards, a 72-second silence was held for those lost.
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