London Mayor backs one minute’s silence 3pm Carnival Monday
London, UK – 11 August 2017
The Mayor of London and the Notting Hill carnival organisers have agreed to commemorate the Grenfell fire victims by halting the Carnival and observing a minute’s silence at 3pm on Carnival Monday, 28 August.
The move comes following the proposal put to Sadiq Khan by human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, and suggested by him on BBC’s Sunday Politics show on 9 July.
The Mayor confirmed the commemoration in a letter to Peter Tatchell dated 9 August, in which he said the Notting Hill organisers “plan to bring the Carnival to a stop for a minute’s silence across the entire event at 3pm on Monday 28 August.”
“I thank the Mayor and Carnival organisers for supporting the commemoration call. It is great that the Carnival will go ahead with a tribute to the many people who lost their lives and homes,” added Mr Tatchell.
“The one proposal I made that is not yet agreed is the sounding of sirens. The wailing sound they make would aptly symbolise the grief that many Londoners feel, audibly signal that the Carnival stands with Grenfell and is a practical way to announce the 3pm moment when the minute’s silence and stillness begins. I hope the Mayor and Carnival organisers can agree this extra gesture. We owe it to the people of Grenfell,” he said.
In the wake of the Grenfell fire disaster, there were calls to cancel, postpone or move the nearby Notting Hill Carnival. Some people said it would not be appropriate to have this party atmosphere so geographically close to, and so soon after, such a massive loss of life.
“I sympathise with these sentiments. The pain and sorrow of 14 June is still raw; especially because of the way the authorities mishandled their response to the inferno. Most survivors have still not been satisfactorily rehoused, which is shameful,” said Mr Tatchell.
“But I felt that that moving or postponing the Carnival on account of Grenfell would not be the right response. I know many others feel the same.
“I wrote to the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, in early July, supporting his rejection of calls to relocate or downgrade the Carnival. I suggested instead that he liaise with the Grenfell survivors and Carnival organisers to agree an appropriate way to commemorate the Grenfell tragedy.
“My proposal was that loud sirens should be sounded across West London at 3pm on Carnival Monday, 28 August, to symbolise the collective grief of Londoners. And that this should be followed by a minute’s silence and stillness in memory of those who died and in solidarity with the survivors.
“The Mayor agreed that any commemoration should be community led. He has now informed me that the Carnival organisers have, after consultation with the community, agreed that the whole event will halt for a minute’s silence at 3pm on Monday 28 August. All the music and dancing will pause. Up to one million people will show their respect and empathy.
“This is terrific news. It will ensure that the Carnival proceeds as planned and that those who suffered at Grenfell Tower are accorded a fitting tribute and remembrance,” said Mr Tatchell.