Three hundred people staged a protest march in South Norwood on Wednesday night following the incident last week in which a group of local men were seen burning an effigy of Grenfell Tower, causing widespread outrage.
The march, organised by the South Norwood Tourist Board (SNTB), was in direct response to the video, which was filmed in the area. The six men arrested in relation to the effigy live in the area.
This event was organised to coincide with another march in Islington to remember the victims of Grenfell.
Millie Williams, a resident of South Norwood who was marching said: “There are two towers in Croydon that are exactly the same as Grenfell.”
Inside Housing have reported that the Citiscape buildings in West Croydon, which have ninety-five flats, “have failed government fire safety tests, [due to the] cladding that was found wrapped around the complex.”
Sebastian O’Kelly, the CEO at Leasehold Knowledge Partnership, the charity who helped residents of the Cityscape buildings find legal representation, said: “The people are living in a highly dangerous tower block, which is causing them considerable anxiety”.
Ian Bone, a SNTB representative and co-organiser of the march, said they coordinated the event “for the people who didn’t want to be portrayed as racist”.
Bone continued: “If you type South Norwood into the search engine on the computer, [the video] will come up for pages and pages, so we wanted to do something to knock them off the top of the search.”
Lou Cooper, another member of the SNTB, said: “When we found out that they were locals it was actually heart breaking. We posted something to say that we were disappointed, and people started contacting us.”
Over the weekend before November 5, a number of South Norwood men filmed themselves burning an effigy of Grenfell Tower with figures at the windows of the model and shared it online, provoking immediate outrage and condemnation.
Subsequently, six men, two aged 19, two aged 49, and two more aged 46 and 55, were arrested under section 4a of the Public Order Act after attending a south London police station. They have been released but remain under investigation.