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THE THIRTIETH silent march calling for justice for Grenfell sent a message of community defiance to the newly elected Conservative government and Kensington’s new Tory MP over the weekend.
Outside Grenfell Tower at a rally at the end of the march, community youth worker and journalist Daniel Renwick said North Kensington will be looked on by the rest of the country as an example of how to “continue the fightback” against the government, as the second phase of the Grenfell inquiry starts in the new year.
He extended solidarity to the Hillsborough campaign for justice that suffered a setback last month when match commander David Duckenfield was found not guilty of gross negligence manslaughter of 95 Liverpool fans.
Hundreds of people who attended the march and rally on Saturday evening also heard from rapper Lowkey, real name Kareem Dennis.
He said “psychological warfare” had been inflicted on Kensington residents by the Liberal Democrats during the election campaign, which led to the splitting of the anti-Tory vote and the unseating of Labour MP Emma Dent Coad.
Mr Dennis took aim at the deluge of Lib Dems’ campaign literature that urged Kensington residents vote for their ex-Conservative candidate Sam Gyimah.
Mr Gyimah got 9,000 votes and led to the election of Tory candidate Felicity Buchan, who was just 150 votes ahead of Ms Dent Coad.
Ms Dent Coad, who was the first ever Labour MP to represent Kensington but had a majority of just 20, was one of the highest-profile casualties of the general election in which Labour suffered heavy losses.
She has been attending Grenfell marches since the fire broke out in June 2017, while Ms Buchan has admitted to never going on one.
During the rally, Mr Dennis said: “We have all been lied to by leaflets that have been put through our doors in order to get us to vote against our own interests.
“In getting letters claiming they’re from an election specialist saying we should vote for the Liberal Democrats to avoid a Tory government — and in tiny small print on the bottom of that letter that says ‘sent on behalf of the Liberal Democrats’ — we were lied to.
“We have lost someone who was a champion of this community in Parliament who has been replaced by someone who belongs to a party that was responsible for the fire.
“That person [Ms Buchan] does not represent us and cannot represent us and should not be normalised or legitimised.
“The amount of disinformation, the amount of manipulation that took place was unprecedented in the history of this country.”
Ms Dent Coad told the Star that people have come up to her in tears over her losing her seat.
“Everywhere I go I have overwhelming support from people who are saying the same thing [as Mr Dennis], and that I will always be their MP — which is very moving. I will do as much as I can,” she said.
She revealed to the Star that she underwent surgery for breast cancer on the Monday before the election, after being diagnosed in the middle of the campaign.
She added that she is committed to continuing to speak out for Kensington even though she will no longer be in Parliament.
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